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7 trade unionists get 5 years for embezzlement

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7 trade unionists get 5 years for embezzlement

Posted 26/11/2022

Seven trade unionists were sentenced to 60 months in prison after they were found responsible as perpetrators of different forms of embezzlement to the detriment of the Ministry of  Labor.

The decision was made by Judge Águeda Reintería, of the First Settlement Court for Criminal Cases, after an accusation by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor of the Public Ministry.

The investigation by the prosecutor's office arose from a complaint filed in April 2010 by the then Minister of Labor, Alma Cortés, who argued that the Institute for Labor Studies delivered large sums of money to the confederate unions, without they submit reports on the use of money from education insurance discounting the country's workers.

An audit by the Comptroller General revealed inconsistencies and expenses were found for purposes other than what is established in the decree that regulates educational insurance, without the union leaders being able to support more than $261,000.

Guillermo Puga Rodríguez, a current member of the board of directors of the Social Security Fund (CSS), assured La Prensa  Friday that he is innocent and that they proved this once in the courts of justice opportunity. He added that his sentence is in the first instance, so he will file an appeal and continue to fight.

Mariano Mena was the general secretary of the General Autonomous Central of Workers between 1990 and 2014 and between 2014 and 2018, in the government of Juan Carlos Varela, he worked in the Ministry of Government.  at the time it called Cortés's complaint "retaliation" by former President Ricardo Martinelli because he was a harsh critic of his government.

While Gabriel Castillo is the leader of the National Confederation of Independent Union Unity (Conusi), an organization that brings together 49 groups, including Construction workers (Suntracs).

Among the findings detected by an audit by the Comptroller's Office is that the funds would have been diverted to contracts for paid television packages for leaders, trips abroad, and rental of premises.

The case went around the courts for three years, while legal appeals of all kinds were resolved.

In October 2015, it was announced that the then-Tenth Criminal Court closed the proceedings against the unionists. This, as a result of the Minister of Labor at that time, the now deputy Luis Ernesto Carles, presented a withdrawal of the case in July 2014. Later, it was reactivated.


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