SOAB: No obvious misconduct with credit cards

POSTED: 12/21/11 9:42 AM

WILLEMSTAD – The Foundation Government Accountants Bureau (SOAB) has said it does not have enough information to draw the conclusion that Presidents of the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles between 2002 and 2010 had committed “some degree of wrongdoing” with the credit card they were issued. The conclusion is part of a report requested by Finance Minister George Jamaloodin into the $78, 055.78 spent in the review period.

The report, which was requested after the expenses under Pedro Atacho were leaked, further concludes that the Presidents of Parliament who served in the review period were not fully aware of the rules for the card’s use that were drafted by the Ministry of Finance. Those rules include not using the card for travel and personal expenses and that card’s limit was $5, 000.

The report states that Dudley Lucia who was President of Parliament from December 22, 2005 to April 5, 2006 spent $57, 801.58. Two of the amounts that stand out are $333.35 and $128.73. Both amounts were for suit rentals. Lucia said he needed to use the credit card to cover the cost because he was representing parliament at special occasions.

Dwigno Puriel, who was President of Parliament from April 6, 2006 to September 13, 2006, only spent $334.06 because he says he was unsure how the card should be used and so he used it as little as possible. The SOAB did point out though that Puriel used $22.16 from the card at a money change in Venezuela in May 2006.

Jean Francisca, who chaired parliament from September 14, 2006 through September 10, 2007, made no expenses with the card.

Atacho, who was President of Parliament from October 5, 2007 through September 22, 2010, spent $19, 920.14. He’s on record stating he spent $17,628 between 2008 and 2010 and none of it was inappropriate. The report shows however that he put $100 in restaurant expenses on the card during a private visit to Puerto Rico and $1446.35 in restaurant charges at a Maastricht restaurant on the card, during a planned visit to The Hague. Atacho says the money he spent in Puerto Rico was for a meeting with a member of the Puerto Rican legislature and the bill in Maastricht was for a meeting with students and officials.


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