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Published Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Case against former magistrate and
the suspects of the Cementazo
case scandal advances


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


After concluding the investigation process, the Specialized Unit of the General Prosecutor's Office announced that it had finalized the accusation against three suspects of being related to the polemic case of an alleged millionaire scam against public institutions.

The Cementazo case is a political scandal suspecting corruption, revealed by the media in 2017. The investigation divulged alleged loans of millions of dollars from the public banks to a cement import businessman surnamed Bolaños-Rojas, who was denounced for irregularities.

The prosecution leads the criminal accusation against three men, a former magistrate surnamed Gamboa-Sánchez, Bolaños-Rojas and his cousin surnamed Rojas-Segura.

Advancements in the case were reported to the Attorney General's Office, which is listed as an affected party in the process.

As of this report, the Office of the Attorney General has three business days to report if they will present a private accusation, and whether or not it will claim an amount of compensation for the damages suffered as a result of the case.

Once this period has expired, the Attorney General will have 10 more days to present the case documents.

The accusation will be addressed to the Criminal Court of Finance and of the Public Function so that a preliminary hearing could be scheduled.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, in the accusation, Gamboa is mentioned for allegedly having received a trip to Panama as a gift in October 2016, with the cost of air tickets and lodging covered by the Bolaños's group.

"Apparently, as a result of this benefit granted, the former magistrate carried out an act contrary to his duties as a magistrate of the Criminal Chamber," the Prosecutor said in its statement.

According to the Prosecutor, the former magistrate allegedly did not refrain from solving the request to dismiss another case against two former deputies, surnamed Morales-Zapata and Guevara-Guth. Also, in the case of the other two suspects surnamed Céspedes-Salazar, and Bolaños-Rojas, for an alleged influence-peddling crime.

According to the indictment, the aforementioned air ticket and lodging expenses were paid by Rojas-Segura, who served as general manager of the Bolaños's business group.

"For these facts, Gamboa is accused of the alleged crime of bribery, the businessman for an alleged crime of corruption under the modality of bribery, and Rojas for the alleged penalty as an accomplice," the Prosecutor said.

Also, the prosecution refers to events that happened in April 2017, when the former magistrate Gamboa and the businessman Bolaños met outside the Court building.

"It is believed that Gamboa, in his capacity as a judge of the Chamber, attended Bolaños in an area exclusively for the staff of the Deputy Prosecutor for Probity, Transparency, and Anti-corruption department. There, at the desk of the Judicial Coordination, it is suspected that Bolaños requested a document stating that there was no open case against him, of which that letter was made," the Prosecutors said.

According to the Specialized Unit in charge of investigating the case, the former magistrate allegedly imposed his high status command of the Judiciary to obtain an unfair advantage in favor of Bolaños, for which he is accused of the crime of peddling.

There are more facts presented in the indictment. In October 2017, Gamboa appeared before the Special Commission that was created in the Congress, to investigate a series of events related to loans granted for the importation of Chinese cement.

"The accusation declares that the former judge (Gamboa) lied under oath, because, allegedly, he lied in some of his statements. Among these, about the way of acquiring the ticket and lodging in Panama, as well as his trip to that country, and about the regularity of his contact with Bolaños. Therefore, the Prosecutor's Office accuses him of the crime of perjury," the Prosecutor said.

Also, the case mentioned that Bolaños- Rojas also lied under oath about another incident that happened in December 2017. He gave testimony, which was ordered by the Full Court to determine if Gamboa had incurred an administrative offense linked to multiple public accusations made against him.

Allegedly the cement importer lied about facts, among others, about the time he had to meet the then former magistrate Gamboa and the frequency of his communications. And he allegedly lied about the reasons for the trip to Panama and his innocence of the form of payment of the ticket and accommodation.

On April 2019, a judge ordered Bolaños to keep the house in jail during the process of the Cementazo trial.



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Should the Prosecutor speed the pre-trial process due to the high importance of the case? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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