The (once) solid, unimpeachable, incorruptible, Jorge Chavarria is requesting the Poder Judicial (Judiciary) to reactivate his retirement effective on December 15, two days after the three-month suspension imposed on him by the Corte Plena is complete while investigating the manner in which the Minister Publico (Public Prosecutor’s office) asked the Sala III (of the Supreme Court) to dismiss an investigation against two legislators in the Chinese cement case, known as the “Cementazo”.
The Press Office of the Court confirmed the request was made by the Chavarria on November 8.
Chavarría was suspended after it was learned the Ministerio Publico did not include, in its entirety, in the dismissal request, a report from the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) that proved that there were multiple telephone contacts between Bolaños and three politicians.
The request by the Ministerio Publico, made in early 2017, was for the dismissal of two cases of alleged influence peddling, one against legislators Otto Guevara (Movimiento Libertario) and Víctor Morales Zapata (independent), and another against the cement importer, the “cementero” as is currently being referred to, Juan Carlos Bolaños and former legislator Wálter Céspedes.
Guevara is currently, for the fifth consecutive time, in the race to be President of the Republic, while Victor Morales Zapata is in a battle of wits against current Costa Rica president Luis Guillermo Solis, Zapata has been saying publicly that Solis knew of the #Cementazo, in that he was the one to have told him, while President Solis denies it all.
The former deputy prosecutor, Berenice Smith, who signed the application for dismissal and resigned her position, said that among the conclusions there was not enough evidence to substantiate the links between the owner of Sinocem (the company run by Bolaños) and Céspedes, Guevara and Morales Zapata, and that the intent of the Attorney General’s office was to bury the denunciations.
The suspension of Attorney General Chavarria came after the judges learned that he was named as a defendant in a criminal case along with the magistrate of the Sala III, Celso Gamboa, who is also currently under suspension.
The case before the courts was filed by the Asociación Nacional de Investigadores en Criminalística y Afines (ANIC) – National Association of Criminal Investigators and Allied Workers – against Chavarria and Gamboa, for alleged influence peddling and breach of duties.
The ANIC alleges that, at the end of 2016, Deputy Prosecutor Berenice Smith Bonilla requested the dismissal of the case against the legislators on the instructions from the Attorney General, Jorge Chavarría, and that, on February 21, 2017, the Sala III dismissed the case while Judge Gamboa was present at the session.
The legislators of the Comisión Investigadora de Créditos Bancarios (legislative committee on Banking Credit) summoned Jorge Chavarría, on October 26, about the passivity with which, according to them, the Ministerio Public had reacted in investigating the case of the Chinese cement.
During his appearance before that committee, Chavarria acknowledged that there is a false assertion in the dismissal of the case request, in reference to the allegation that no telephone relations were verified between the three investigated.
On Chavarria’s suspension, Emilia Navas Aparicio was appointed as acting Attorney General.
Navas, a week ago, ordered the detention of Bolaños and six members of the Banco de Costa Rica’s (BCR) top managers, accusing Bolaños of four crimes: embezzlement (peculado in Spanish), influence peddling, slanderous denunciation and simulation of crime; while the six high ranking banking officials, including the former general manager of the state bank and high ranking members of the loans credit panel, are charged with embezzlement and facilitating the theft of public funds.
Currently, Bolaños and five of the BCR officials are in detention at the San Sebastian jail in San Jose, while the former manager of the BCR, Mario Barrenechea, due to his age (he turns 68 on November 13), is being held in La Reforma prison.
Though the acting Attorney General requested six months of preventive detention against the seven accused, last Saturday the Court decided on three months.