Community, Special Stories, Liberia

Diamante: Bribery in municipalities

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
  • This article is a complement to the investigative report “Businessmen accused in bribery investigation monopolize contract bids in Liberia” to explain the Diamante case.



In the transcripts of wiretaps done by the Judicial Investigation Organization (Spanish acronym: OIJ) for the Diamante case, Abel González and his son Ángel are mentioned on multiple occasions, allegedly planning cash payments and gifts to mayors and officials of municipalities linked to the Diamante case.

According to these judicial documents, they even discuss contract bid contests that, according to SICOP, were awarded to the company Gocesa del Molino S.A. in the local governments in question.

For example, the report INFORME 043-SADEF-CI-2020 from OIJ’s Anti-Corruption section mentions that Abel González sent his son Ángel to leave 3 million colones (about $5,750) in cash, allegedly to the former mayor of Cartago, Rolando Rodríguez. However, Rodríguez reported, according to the transcript, that he only received a little more than one million colones (about $2,000).

In another conversation, father and son talk about the “convenience” of giving an expensive cell phone to an official and offering a “bonus” to the person in charge of awarding contracts in one of the municipalities in the province of Cartago. Below is an excerpt from the conversations.

Dialogue 1

Ángel: Hello.

Abel: Look, did you see the message I sent you?

Ángel: Yes, I don’t know what it was.

Abel: Hey, hey, some friend of yours, find out for me how much that phone is worth, man.

Ángel: Uh-huh.

Abel: They say it’s the latest Samsung.

Ángel: I don’t know. I can find out. Why?

Abel: That guy from the Municipality asked Luis, now, the guy who’s going to pay us tomorrow.

Ángel: Uh-huh.

Abel: I’m not going to give it to him, of course. I’m going to buy it from somewhere else. Find out if any of your friends have it and see how much it’s worth. They told me that in Multiplaza, there’s a place where you can get phones very cheap.

Ángel: How much?

Abel: I don’t know, I’m going to see, maybe. That phone must cost 500,000 (about $950), right?

Ángel: Ok, I’m going to send the photo to a guy who sells [them].

Abel: Ask him, man, how much this phone is worth. Tell him I need one of these to see what he tells you, in black. Let’s see what colors there are.

Ángel: Ok.

Abel: Ask him to give me an invoice and everything. What does it matter? I’ll pay.

Ángel: Okay, invoice in whose name?

Abel: From Constructora MECO, of course.

Ángel: Ok.

Abel: Damn, the phone comes out, I don’t buy it from whoever he feels like and the guy puts a chip in it.

Ángel: Oh Yes, yes, yes.

Abel: What has a name is the plan, right?

Ángel: Yes, you just need the phone and change the chip.


Dialogue 2

Ángel: Now I spoke with a guy from Tejar there. A contract bid contest came out for some stands, a bleacher at the Tejar Sports Center.

Abel: Uh-huh.

Angel: 17,500,000 (about $34,000).

Abel: Uh-huh.

Ángel: And I spoke to the little guy there who is in the Tejar. I said to him, “man, who awards that thing?” and he tells me, so-and-so. I tell him, that guy doesn’t want a bonus, I told him, that’s how I threw it out there, and he tells me, yes, yes, that guy’s open to that, well, tomorrow is so “incomprehensible.”

Abel: Well, then square it well so that guy gets the bonus.

Ángel: And here at the Municipality of Oreamuno they gave us another bid notice for remodeling the soccer field.

Abel: What needs to be done to it?

Ángel: I have the notice there. I haven’t seen it.

Abel: Change the grass and everything?