The Hague debates bribery of Bada Bing tomorrow

POSTED: 04/15/13 1:48 PM

St. Maarten / THE HAGUE – Tomorrow at 10.15 a.m. (island time) the parliamentary committee for Kingdom Relations debates the Bada Bing bribery case. The debate will be streamed live on the internet via tweedekamer.nl.

The issue will come up in the general consultation about Kingdom Relations in de Wittewaal van Stoetwegenzaal. The committee will discuss the questions MPs Bosman, Van Raak and Heijnen have posed about the video footage that shows how independent MP Patrick Illidge seemingly received $15,000 from strip club owner Jaap van den Heuvel.

On the agenda is also a letter from the Dutch government to the government of St. Maarten about the Caribbean Netherlands (in particular about Saba and Statia) of February 8 of this year, the half-year report from the financial supervisor Cft, the list of agreements of the recent inter-parliamentary Kingdom consultation and the pollution at the refinery in Curacao.

The meeting is scheduled to last two hours.

Bosman, Van Raak and Heijnen asked Minister Plasterk questions on March 11 after the Telegraaf published an article about the Bada Bing bribery video.

Already the next day, the minister answered these questions. The Telegraaf published its article on Thursday March 7 and a day later the Daily Herald published the video on its website.

Minister Plasterk has seen the footage by the time he answered the questions, but he declined to say when he had seen it: “It is not possible to give information about the moment of the possible availability of the video at the AIVD (the Dutch intelligence service – ed.), Plasterk stated in his answers.

The three parliamentarians asked Minister Plasterk whether the footage indicates “possible bribery of at least one member of the public administration in St. Maarten,” whether there is a link with prostitution and whether St. Maarten is able to handle the case independently. Furthermore, the MPs asked whether an investigation is underway “into the Justice Minister about the possible relations he has – possibly through company-structures – with one or more brothels in St. Maarten.” The MPs – incorrectly – suggest in their questions that prostitution is against the law in St. Maarten.

Minister Plasterk did not go into too much detail, but answered that the investigation is ongoing, that house searches have been done and that it is up to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to determine if the investigation justifies prosecution and if so, who will have to be prosecuted.

The Minister denied that the video has been in circulation since September 2012. In the same breath he stated that people who had knowledge of the information are not punishable, including parliamentarians, ministers and the prime minister.

Plasterk also said in answer to questions that the National Detective Agency (Rijksrecherche) is not involved in the investigation. “The National Detective Agency is in the employ of the Netherlands. She is only authorized to operate in the Netherlands, and could only be deployed in St. Maarten if St. Maarten submitted a request for support.”

Plasterk furthermore made clear that article 43 of the Kingdom Charter (the guarantee function) is not applicable to the Bada Bing case. “This only becomes opportune when there is structurally no redress for an inadmissible situation concerning the upholding of human rights, the judicial security or good governance.”

Tomorrow Minister Plasterk will debate his answers with the Kingdom Relations Committee.

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