Former Minister Hillen was Ramonsito Booi’s advisor

POSTED: 12/3/13 12:28 PM

THE HAGUE – Former Minister of Defense Hans Hillen was active in Bonaire as advisor for corruption suspect Ramonsito Booi, leader of the Union Patriotiko Bonairean – UPB. Research by NTC Handelsblad has brought the relationship between Hillen and Booi to light. “Hillen and his fellow (CDA) party member Wilbert Stolte, currently the Dutch Representative in Bonaire, acted as advocates of the UPB, the scandal-ridden sister party of the Dutch Christian-Democratic appeal CDA.

Hillen and Stolte maintain close ties already since 2005 with the UPB stalwarts Ramonsito Booi and Burney El Hage, NRC Handelsblad reported on Saturday. Booi and El Hage are charged with corruption and abuse of power in the Zambezi-trial. That Hillen acted as Booi’s political advisor appears from a letter that Booi sent in 2010 to several authorities in his function as leader of the UPB. The letter was written by Hans Hillen, NRC Handelsblad discovered. Hillen says in a reaction: “U do help friends sometimes with difficult letters.”

The political crisis in Bonaire escalated after the controversial appointment of Wilbert Stolte as Dutch representative. Stolte has the support from the UPB but not from any other political party on the island. He is at war with the opposition in the Island Council. Governor Emerencia (who has now submitted her resignation), dispatched Dutch civil servants, the management of the police force and the Public Prosecutor’s office.

In September Minister Plasterk (Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations) called Stolte back to The Hague for an urgent consultation. This happened after reports surfaces that he had interfered with criminal investigations against IPB-politicians. The result of the meeting with Plasterk was that Stolte, whose appointment officially ends in May 2017, is leaving his post in May 2014.

Sources told NRC Handelsblad that former State Secretary Ank Bijleveld in 2009 refused to appoint Stolte as the Dutch Representative in Bonaire. According to Bijleveld, Stolte was not fit for the job because of his ties with the UPB. A lobby initiated from within her party CDA did not manage to change her mind.

Bijleveld appointed Henk Kamp as Commissioner for Bonaire, Saba, and Statia. He would become the Dutch Representative after the completion of the constitutional reform process. However, Kamp left to become a minister in the Netherlands. Piet Hein Donner then appointed Stolte as the Dutch Representative.

The investigation by NRC Handelsblad furthermore shows that in 2011 Donner appointed former casino boss Richard Hart as the chairman of the Sona-foundation – against the advice from his civil servants. Sona is the foundation that distributes development funds in the Antilles. According to the advice written by Donner’s civil servants, Richard Hart – a member of Ramonsito Booi’s family – had had too much involvement with “issues and projects” in the past.

In a reaction, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations says that Hart was chosen from several candidates. Donner, who is now the vice president of the Council of State – the “viceroy of the Netherlands – declined to comment.

 

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