Closing speech in Buncamper case (Sint Maarten)
PHILIPSBURG – Today the closing speech (requisitoir) was presented by the Public Prosecutor in the ‘Buncamper case’.
The suspects are accused primarily of committing forgery. The core issue revolves around a piece of land that the couple Buncamper. had held since 2005. First by renting it from the island territory Sint Maarten, then by aquiring a lease. To obtaining the land, however, conditions were attached, for example the land could not be subleased or made available to a third party. The price paid by the couple Buncamper was about NAf 22,000 and later even less, namely NAf 18,495 ANG per month.
Right from the first moment of obtaining the land, the couple Buncamper, however, made it available to the company of I.Havertong called SBS. SBS was significantly to paid for it, as it was intended from the outset that SBS would pay about USD 5,000 a month. Later this amount was increased to USD 18,750 per month in addition to a fee of USD 750,000. Ultimately USD 3 million was paid to the couple Buncamper.
The couple Buncamper did not want to pay any tax on the income derived from the land, which they were not allowed to rent out. A solution was needed and found with the aid of notary F.Gijsbertha. That solution was the establishment of the holding called “Eco Green” to allow the transition between the Buncampers and SBS. Although the official director was T.O.Walters, it was clear from the whole dossier that the actual owners of Eco Green was the couplet.
While it is questionable whether country St. Maarten should have allowed this construction thus depriving itself from gaining income, is this in itself not the core of the accusation. Apparently, country St. Maarten did not mind this misuse of the system of long lease therefore favouring some individuals.
The allegation against the defendants has to do with the fact that there are lies included in the records used to make the construction possible. That is called lying and in court it’s called forgery.
In addition, the couple Buncamper is accused of not paying enough in taxes to the country.
In a later phase of the research was a major mistake was made by the former case prosecutor. During a search at the the couple Buncamper’s house pictures of documents were taken while some of these pieces fell under the law of privacy in communications between suspect and lawyer. The search was related to money laundering and this was submitted as a seperate charge for the suspects I.A.Havertong and the couple Buncamper.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office however, has decided to not to prosecute the acused of this offence, because it could appear as though during the house search the public prosecutor did not act with integrity. Therefore, the Publis Prosecutor’s Office has asked for the money laundering charge to be inadmissible. All other facts can simply be treated as they are.
In the determination of the demand, the following factors have been of interest. Both Mr. and Mrs. Buncamper are public servants and should serve the country’s interests. This they have not done. Their motive was just to make as much profit as possible, without actually doing anything. At the moment, the Public Prosecutor’s Office assumes that they have earned a total of approximately NAf 635,000 and also a block of shares was sold for USD 1,145,000. In due course this illegally obtained assets will have to be taken away.
The notary F.E.Gijsbertha is accused of having deliberately included falsities in authentic deeds. Thus he confounded the trust society should have in similar documents.
The suspect T.O.Walters contributed with everything and received a generous salary. Each month USD 1,500 was paid to him for being the director of a company that was inactive.
Ultimately, SBS and thus suspect I.A.Havertong got the plot of land. Country Sint Maarten in 2013 gives permission to the couple Buncamper to sell the right of long lease. This took place after articles published in the media. This way the “shadow construction” came to light. I.A.Havertong and the couple BUncamper were once again benfitted from this.
However, these facts are from earlier dates. Imprisonment is considering all the circumstances, the only appropriate punishment.
Photo: Claudius and Maria Buncamper