Fallen minister candidate for UP in August: Buncamper-Molanus seeks absolution from prosecution

POSTED: 07/4/14 12:49 AM

St. Maarten – Former Public Health Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus has petitioned the court to order the Public Prosecutor’s Office to put an end to the uncertainty about a possible criminal investigation against her. Solicitor-General Taco Stein confirmed yesterday that there is such a petition but he declined to comment on it because the request is sub judicial. Buncamper-Molanus’s attorney Jairo Bloem could not be reached for a comment yesterday.

On Tuesday, Buncamper-Molanus said in a radio broadcast that she will be a candidate for Theo Heyliger’s United People’s party in the August 29 elections.

While Buncamper-Molanus sang the praises of both UP-leader Heyliger and DP-leader Sarah Wescot-Williams, saying that she started her political career at the age of 28 with the DP and that she is thankful for the opportunities this party has given her, she did not say anything about attempts to return to that party.

Emil Lee, who is a candidate for the DP in August, made it a condition for his candidacy, that the DP-list is free of candidates with “integrity issues.”

Buncamper-Molanus was forced to step down in December 2010, a couple of months after taking office as the country’s first Minister of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labor, after this newspaper revealed a controversial deal with leased land on Pond Island. Buncamper-Molanus obtained the land in long lease in 2008 and sold its economic ownership eight months later to the bogus-company Eco-Green NV for $3 million.

In 2008, Buncamper-Molanus was briefly ousted from her position as Commissioner in the Executive Council of the island territory due to a controversial $25,000 donation her foundation Sky is the Limit received from the TelEm Group of Companies where her husband Claudius at the time was a member of the supervisory board. Later she was reappointed.

The prosecutor’s office has repeatedly suggested during the past three-and-a-half years that a criminal investigation into the land-deal was in the works, but it never took any action that would have given Buncamper-Molanus the status of a suspect. Chief Prosecutor Rick Noordhoek, the successor of Hans Mos, said as recently as April 9 in an interview with this newspaper that no decision had been taken yet about prosecuting the case.

“I am not prepared yet to say that we’ll close the book on it,” Noordhoek said in the interview after citing a shortage of detectives with financial expertise at the National Detective Agency.

Buncamper-Molanus is now seeking absolution via the court. It is at this moment unclear when the court will handle the petition.

 

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