Taxand report public soon

POSTED: 02/7/13 12:46 PM

St. Maarten – Within a week, the final report compiled by the government accounting bureau (Soab) on the Taxand scam will be presented to the Council of Ministers, Finance Minister Roland Tuitt stated yesterday. Tuitt has been in possession of the report since last year but said that he has only just completed his final reaction to it. United People’s Parliamentarian drs. Gracita Arrindell issued a release earlier this week questioning why the minister was delaying the report’s presentation if it contained scathing information on misappropriation of public funds, as he had implied.

After the Council of Ministers, the report will head to Parliament, where Tuitt says legislators can then decide what action should be taken based on its findings.

On Wednesday Tuitt declined to offer any information on whether the investigation unearthed criminal activities, preferring to say that “certain procedures were not followed but he is not a criminal lawyer” to determine whether a crime was committed.

“I will write an advice and once the report has reached parliament it will be published,” the minister said, adding that since the report will be public, it would be the Public Prosecutors prerogative to pursue a case.

On May 3 of last year, this newspaper reported that the Finance Ministry circumvented the rules for public tenders by granting a consultancy contract worth 210,000 guilders to B&B consultancy in 2010 for assistance with a tax and investment plan. Later, a company the same consultant leads landed a contract worth approximately 14 million guilders (almost $7.8 million) for the restructuring of the tax system. The company in question is Taxand, a global tax consultancy with offices in Curacao and St. Maarten. The company is represented here by Judith Brewster, who also secured a consultancy job for herself worth 17,500 guilders (a bit over $9,700) per month back in 2010.

Article 47 of the national audit ordinance stipulates that buying goods or services worth more than 50,000 guilders ($27,778) require a public render, unless the national interest does not allow for any delays.

As soon as Tuitt took office in May, he ordered an investigation into the matter.
The Taxand contracted was prepared under former Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto who in December was arrested on suspicion of fraud, forgery and money laundering.



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