Prosecutor removed from from Buncamper-casePOSTED: 08/21/15 12:36 PM
Prosecutor Dounia Benammar (pictured here in Cupecoy on her way to the crime scene of the Michael and Thelma King murders in 2012) will replace Gonda van der Wulp (inset) as the lead prosecutor during the Buncamper-trial. Photo Today / Leo Brown
After allegedly photographing statements from witnesses for the defense
St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp has been removed from the Buncamper-case that goes to trial on September 9 and 10. Prosecutor Dounia Benammar, who works at the office of Attorney-General Guus Schram in Curacao, has been appointed as her replacement.
The prosecutor’s office did not want to comment on the reasons for the swap yesterday.
This newspaper learned from a reliable source that Van der Wulp allegedly overstepped her authority during a search at the house of the Buncampers on Ponum Drive in St. Johns. The search took place on June 25 and was executed by the National Detective Agency in the presence of a Judge of Instruction and prosecutor Van der Wulp.
Tineke Kamps, at the time the press prosecutor, confirmed the search and said that it was related to the current investigation against the Buncampers.
A source told this newspaper on condition of anonymity that during the search prosecutor Van der Wulp allegedly photographed statements from witnesses for the defense that were lying on the desk of either Maria Buncamper-Molanus or her husband Claudius. This way, the prosecution gained insight in the strategy of the defense for the trial in September. These statements fell outside of the scope of the house search.
Press prosecutor Karola van Nie confirmed yesterday that Van der Wulp has been taken off the case and that Dounia Benammar is her replacement, but she declined to comment on the reasons for the decision after this newspaper confronted her with the information.
“We will not say anything about this, because our position is that this belongs in the courtroom and not in the media. The trial begins on September 9 and the hearing is public. That is where we will give account of what has happened, and make clear what the position of the prosecutor’s office is,” Van Nie said.
On September 9, former Public Health Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus, her husband Claudius, retired notary Francis Gijsbertha, Eco Green director Theodore Oniel Walters and St. Maarten Building Supplies-director Ivan H. stand trial as members of a criminal organization. The objectives of that organization were, according to the summonses the prosecution brought against the defendants in January, forgery, incorrect and incomplete filing of tax returns and intentionally destroying evidence.
In June, the prosecutor’s office brought additional charges against the Buncampers and Ivan H. for money laundering.
In December 2010, this newspaper revealed how the Buncampers sold the economic ownership of a piece of land they held on long lease on Pond Island for $3 million to the bogus company Eco Green of which Oniel Walters, a retired employee of Public Works under Claudius Buncamper, was the director.
In July, this newspaper revealed how the Buncampers sold the right of long lease to the same property in December 2013 to St. Maarten Building Supplies. The prosecution considers this transaction to be bogus.