SOAB blames Roorda for debt relief delays

POSTED: 10/25/11 2:31 PM

“This manner of action caused much delay.”

St. Maarten – The Foundation Government Accountants Bureau (SOAB) says a reference by the “can” rule by former Head of Finance Bas Roorda “escapes them” and is not relevant to the activities the foundation carried out on the debt relief program. They also charge that it was Roorda who consistently did not deliver complete information on the island’s debts. They say there were also times when he did not deliver the information at all.
“The “can” rule gives the Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations the possibility to settle (partly) the concerning payment arrears, in case SOAB cannot issue a positive Auditor’s Report. The link in the article in the Today between the “can” rule and our activities escapes us completely,” SOAB’s director Geomaly Martes wrote in a statement issued on Monday.
The SOAB begins its rebuttal of Roorda’s statement by pointing out that the rules on settling payment arrears was agreed on during a meeting of the Political Steering Group of the Kingdom that was held on December 9, 2009 and further worked out in an audit protocol. In the agreement St. Maarten and Curacao committed to having their Finance Departments submit an overview of the payment arrears and the supporting documents to the SOAB for auditing before October 10, 2010. The SOAB would then audit the statements and provide a report. St. Maarten’s audit report was not issued until November 2010 and the SOAB lays responsibility for that late delivery squarely on Roorda. However they also pointed that St. Maarten did not submit the reports until March 2011, which the Netherlands has “orally indicated were offered much too late.”
“The requested information and necessary documentations could either not be delivered or not be delivered in a timely manner to SOAB. The activities with relation to auditing the debts (in the frame of debt settlement) were executed according to the above-mentioned audit protocol,” Martes wrote in a statement.
Martes does confirm Roorda’s statement that there were differences and deficiencies in the information that they SOAB received but said the body is not empowered to approve or disapprove in the way Roorda presented matters.
“SOAB approves nothing, but gives a judgment over the statements as far as these comply with the definitions as determined in the above-mentioned audit protocol,” Martes stated.
He’d go on to also confirm that the SOAB requested more information on the debt position of the Island Territory of St. Maarten, but said they could not get it because Roorda failed to provide information on time and in full.
“This manner of action of the former head of the department of Financial Administration caused much delay in the realization of the reports,” the SOAB Director said.
Martes also confirmed the Marvel Hooi no longer works at the SOAB, but that this has nothing to do with the reports.
“Mr. Hooi has carried out the activities in accordance with the above-mentioned audit protocol, under the end responsibility of the management of SOAB,” Martes concluded.

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