Friday, March 06, 2009

Costa Rica minister quits after graft reports

San Jose, Costa Rica, (Reuters) - Costa Rica's Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecoms, Roberto Dobles, resigned on Friday following local media reports he granted mining concessions to companies owned by relatives.

President Oscar Arias said in a statement that Dobles had done nothing illegal but felt that remaining in the government could obstruct key environmental, energy and telecommunication projects if a legal case were to be mounted against him.

"(The media) said he authorized concessions to family members," Arias's spokesman Esteban Arrieta told Reuters. "He denied it but resigned anyway."

Dobles was leading an ambitious environmental agenda that included a project to make Costa Rica carbon-neutral by 2021.

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