Nicoya’s Deputy Attorney of Probity, Transparency and Anti-Corruption closed the ongoing case against the former mayor of Nandayure, Carlos Arias Chaves, who was accused of illicit gain by the municipality’s auditor, Gilberto Hernandez.
In the June issue, without knowing Arias’s side of the story, The Voice of Guanacaste published an article that stated that he received his pension, salary and prohibition bonuses, violating Article 20 of the Municipal Code, which establishes that if the mayor is retired and does not give up his pension, he can only receive 50% of his total salary in concept of representation costs.
The article was published without statements from the mayor, who had proof that he acted legally.
The former official had already consulted the Republic’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR- Procuraduría General de la República) regarding if he could receive the prohibition bonus, which is an additional 65% of the base salary, and the PGR responded affirmatively because Arias worked as an Educational Administrator.
With regards to his pension, the former mayor gave up his pension in 2011, but upon learning that Maria Rosa Lopez, who served at the time as the vice mayor of Santa Cruz, did receive both incomes, he requested that the Department of Education reinstate his pension.
The Department of Education denied his request, so Arias filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court, which decided in his favor in 2014. Thus the Pension Board reinstated the benefit for him.
The District Attorney’s Office ended up dismissing the case on June 3rd, indicating that the accused acted according to the Constitutional Court ruling.
“The actions carried out by the accused have not been deliberated to increase his assets, but rather he was duly authorized to receive both salaries,” the ruling of the deputy district attorney, Andrea Morales, indicated.
Arias served as mayor for the 2010-2016 period and received a salary of approximately ¢1,980,000 ($3,735) plus the prohibition bonus, which is 65% of the base salary (approximately ¢1,300,000 or $2455). In addition, as a pension, he received approximately ¢1,400,000 ($2640), which amounted to a salary of ¢4,680,000 ($8830).
Arias provided this newspaper with copies of documents by means of which he proved that he always acted in accordance with the law.
“I want to make it clear that I have always acted in accordance with what is legal and legitimate and that in this case, I gave up my pension because I wanted to earn the full salary as mayor,” he explained.