Betrian-cabinet orders probe into refinery-finances

POSTED: 10/8/12 3:57 PM

WILLEMSTAD – The Council of Ministers led by interim Prime Minister Stanley Betrian ordered the government accountant bureau Soab to raid the offices of government-owned company Refineria di Kòrsou for a quick scan. The first results of this probe are expected on Thursday.
The Betrian-cabinet wants to get an insight in the financial position of government-owned companies. Sidney Justiana, a member of the refinery’s board of commissioners and also a member of the management team told Betrian that he had no problem with this. “They were allowed to come in any time. We have nothing to hide,” Justiana said.
The refinery pre-financed the free education project to the tune of 20 million guilders, paid for the tribute at the Brion square to Curacao’s participants in the Olympic Games and came up with at least 1.2 million guilders for the beautification of the Wilhelmina square. The company has been the target of criticism on several occasions, because it ought to use its financial power to upgrade its installations. There has also been criticism of the power the board of commissioners reportedly assumed.
Soab spoke with the refinery’s financial controller and scrutinized several documents. Until the investigation is complete, parties will not divulge further details. According to Justiana, the cabinet has ordered the board of commissioners not to start any new projects.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office is also busy with an investigation into the refinery and two other government-owned companies – Curoil and Aqualectra. The latter company has a huge deficit, and the three companies never filed their annual accounts for 201 and 2011.
Oswald van der Dijs, who is the chairman of the board at the refinery and Aqualectra, welcomes the investigations. He said that the media have published misleading information, among others about a 120 million transfer from the refinery’s accounts to an account at the Bank of Nova Scotia. “That is a lie,” Van der Dijs said. “Nobody has transferred 120 million over the weekend. The refinery has investments with this bank and in that respect there is a relationship.”
Van der Dijs also denies stories about an 8 million guilders payment to general Electric. “We have bought a reverse-osmosis installation worth $5 million. Technicians of the American company are already in Curacao to set it up. In February of next year it has to be operational and produce 300 cubic meters of water per hour. We need that water for the production of steam,” Van der Dijs said.

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