Published On: Mon, Aug 20th, 2012

Stentor: ‘Corruption Bonaire wider than expected’

THE HAGUE — The corruption with which Bonairean politicians and Dutch entrepreneurs are involved is wider than initially expected, the Dutch local newspaper De Stentor reported today. The ChristenUnie has requested clarification from Minister Liesbeth Spies of the Interior and Minister Ivo Opstelten of Justice.

The newspaper bases it information on the judicial dossier that was recently forwarded to the Communal Court of Justice of the Antilles. De Stentor supposedly has this dossier in its possession. The dossier mentions money laundry practices, suspected land transactions and bribery, practices supposedly involving politician Ramoncito Booi and to a lesser extent, Deputy Burney Elhage, according to the newspaper. “As advisor of the Board of Governors, Minister Hans Hillen often had contact with Booi, just like outgoing minister (Henk) Kamp as special commissioner for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in 2009 and 2010.”

The newspaper also mentions the names of the brothers Hans and John van Besten, who have a good relation with Booi. “They are controversial, among other things due to a series of bankruptcies in the Netherlands. After his personal bankruptcy, John van Besten moved to Bonaire where he leads a comfortable life, according to islanders. ABN Amro pressed charges against both former horeca-entrepreneurs regarding collection fraud, embezzling 12.2 million euros”, according to the newspaper. The dossier regards new suspicions based on depositions, monitored phone calls, e-mails and letters.

Lower Chamber

Immediately after the article was published the ChristenUnie presented written questions to Minister Spies. “It seems that the cabinet had been informed of this case earlier on but hadn’t intervened. This should be clarified as soon as possible. The ChristenUnie advocates a transparent and trustworthy government. The people on Bonaire are being seriously duped by these practices. That’s why clarification is desired”, Lower Chamber member Cynthia Ortega-Martijn wrote in an e-mail.

The party wants to know why the investigation into corruption and fraud was halted and if the Public Prosecutor opposed this at the time. “Do you think there is sufficient reason to re-open this investigation? Do you share our opinion it’s of crucial importance that one should avoid even the semblance of fraud and corruption within the public administration and that the people of Bonaire may trust the public interest is actually served?”

On August 26th the Court of Justice will once again study the case that’s been going for three years and known as the Zambezi-case. The so-called Black Book from Fundashon Bon Governashon in 2009 on corruption on the island led to the investigation. This investigation was left pending for a while after Booi and Elhage instituted legal proceedings. However, after Fundashon Bon Governashon had lodged an objection, the investigation was continued until July with a later extension until August.

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