Prosecution UP Candidate Maria Buncamper-Molanus for Eco Green remains possible  

POSTED: 07/23/14 12:18 PM

Candidate #23 Silvio Matser and UP-rep Roy Heyliger also in legal trouble

St. Maarten – There is still no decision about the possible criminal prosecution of UP-candidate #21 Maria Buncamper-Molanus, the prosecutor’s office said in answer to a question from this newspaper. The prosecutor’s office maintains that there is no reason not to prosecute the former minister for the Eco Green scandal this newspaper revealed in December 2010.

“Buncamper-Molanus has asked the court for a declaration termination criminal investigation,” prosecutor Tineke Kamps wrote in an email to this newspaper yesterday. “The Judge of Instruction still has to handle this request and has not set a date for it yet. The circumstance that such a request is necessary implies the position of the prosecutor’s office that there is no reason not to prosecute.”

Kamps added that her office cannot and will not make any statements about the content of a possible prosecution of the candidate.

Buncamper-Molanus and her husband Claudius obtained a piece of land on Pond Island in long lease in April 2008. Hardly four months later, they sold the economic ownership for $3 million to the bogus company Eco Green NV. Oniel Walters, a retired employee of public works where Claudius Buncamper was in charge, was on paper the director of Eco Green.

This newspaper revealed the Eco Green scandal in December 2010, after obtaining a copy of the notarial deed from the public register at the Cadastre Office.

While the annual lease fee for the land was just around $10,000, the Buncampers sold the economic ownership for 300 times that amount. The notarial deed, drawn up by notary Francis Gijsbertha, states that Eco Green paid $1,6 million on the day the deed was signed. The company would pay the rest in 90 monthly installments of $18,750.

However, when Buncamper-Molanus stepped down as Minister of Public Health, social Development and labor on December 23, 2010, she stated in parliament that “no money had changed hands.”

Opposition leader William Marlin said in 2010 that the land deal smelled of money laundering.

The prosecutor’s office has repeatedly stated – as it did yesterday – that there is no reason not to investigate Buncamper-Molanus, but so far she has not been labeled a suspect in the case. There are also no indications on which aspects a criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution would focus.

Buncamper-Molanus is not the only UP-candidate facing potential legal troubles. Candidate #23, Silvio Matser was already in court in December on charges of tax evasion. The case was adjourned until a later date, because Matser’s attorney Cor Merx wanted “at least six months” to study his client’s administration that had been in the possession of the prosecutor’s office for 18 months. The prosecution accuses Matser of dodging wage taxes, social premiums and turnover tax for an amount of $3.2 million.

It appears now that the court will handle Matser’s trial before the elections –on Wednesday August 6, or a week later, on August 13.

On August 4, the court has another ax to grind with Theo Heyliger’s United People’s party: the election fraud case from 2010. A representative of the UP, Roy Heyliger, is accused of giving money in exchange for votes to members of the police force and the VKS. One of the suspects, Glinda W. has in the meantime passed away. The other suspects are Ashwin Rodney Wilfred M., Cernick Jan Lionel C. and Robert Charles Henry J.

At the pro forma hearing in April, prosecutor Maarten Noordzij asked the court to hear three witnesses at the Judge of Instruction – party leader Theo Heyliger, Hannibal Gumbs and the policy advisor to Economic Affairs Minister Ted Richardson, Ludwig Ouenniche. Over objections from defense attorneys, the court rejected this request because the witnesses had already been interviewed.

That is not all: the court has scheduled the pro forma hearing for the Orca-investigation for August 21. While the investigation’s focus is on the bribery-allegations against independent MP Patrick Illidge, there is also an UP-component to this story. The prosecution accuses Illidge of accepting $150,000 in bribes from Bada Bing owner Jaap van den Heuvel. The case came to light after video footage surfaces showing how Illidge accepted seemingly $15,000 from Van den Heuvel.

The Bada Bing boss said in an interview this newspaper published on March 16, 2013 that he had made the video at the request of UP-leader Theo Heyliger who then gave the material to Daily Herald reporter Michael Granger for editing. Granger has denied that he received the video from Heyliger.

 

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