Embezzlement investigation at Tourist Bureau is underway

POSTED: 04/11/11 12:48 PM

St. Maarten – The Public Prosecutor’s Office has started the preparations for the investigation of possible embezzlement at the Tourist Bureau, Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos said yesterday.

Asked whether this investigation would get a new priority, given the fact that the head of the finance department Bas Roorda has to flee the island on Friday for his personal safety, Mos said that the embezzlement complaints already have the attention of the National detective agency – the landsrecherche.

“We are busy with it already, I cannot give it another priority,” Mos said. He added that “in the wake of the embezzlement complaints” also other things have come to the attention of his office, though he did not provide further details.

On Saturday, this newspaper reported that Roorda had been advised to leave the island to protect his personal safety. Roorda filed complaints at the prosecutor’s office about twelve cases of embezzlement at the Tourist Bureau. He told this newspaper that employees at the tourist Bureau and one – unidentified – politician are involved.

Last week, the Council of Ministers fired Roorda, for violating his oath of secrecy. Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto said on Wednesday that there is no link between the complaints Roorda filed at the prosecutor’s office and his dismissal.

But when this newspaper talked to Roorda on Friday afternoon, shortly before his departure to the Netherlands, it appeared that these complaints are at the heart of the dismissal case.

For more details from the interview with Roorda, we posted it on the site a few stories earlier.


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