Opinion: Due diligencePOSTED: 03/6/15 1:31 PM
Maybe it’s just us, but we cannot help wondering why Members of Parliament sometimes are asking the questions they are asking. Two examples are included in stories we publish today: the one about the tax-deal with the former owners of the American University and the one about the beneficial ownership of Checkmate Security.
On one occasion we heard an MP say that a minister was ‘hiding behind the law’ while it is now apparent that said MP did not really read the law he referred to. Minister Hassink could lift the confidentiality-rule where it concerns information about individual tax payers. That’s in the law, but apparently the MP did not know this, otherwise he would have made the point a long time ago. We’re not saying that a minister should use this authority lightly – otherwise all hell is going to break loose. But the option is there and the point that really hurts is that MPs asking questions about such issues do not inform themselves properly.
The second issue is the beneficial ownership of companies like Checkmate Security. As our article shows, companies are under no legal obligation to reveal the identity of their beneficial owners or their shareholders. MPs could jump high or low, but they will not get this information.
If they do not like the legislation, they should take the initiative to change the law – but that option has not been brought up by anyone so far. Again, this is a case where MPs have not informed themselves properly. All this makes the parliament look weak if not impotent. That is not the right way to represent the voters who put them in this position.
Members of Parliament have to do a better job and do their due diligence, otherwise they will lose the little credibility they have left.