UP-candidate suspect in money-laundering investigation: Prosecution gets three months for Buncamper-Molanus probe

POSTED: 08/7/14 11:22 PM

St. Maarten – United People’s party candidate number 21, Maria Buncamper-Molanus remains the subject of a criminal investigation. The Judge of instruction decided yesterday that the prosecutor’s office has to complete the investigation into suspicions of money laundering within three months. The judge set the deadline for completion at November 6.

Buncamper-Molanus started a legal procedure against the prosecutor’s office in an attempt to terminate a possible criminal investigation. The accusations of wrongdoing against the former Minister of Public Health surfaced in December 2010. The prosecutor’s office has repeatedly indicated that it wanted to investigate the case but never got around to it.

Last month Buncamper-Molanus became a candidate for the upcoming elections on the list of the United People’s party and she wanted to clear her name before the elections.

In 2008, Buncamper-Molanus and her husband Claudius obtained a piece of land on Pond Island in long lease for an annual fee of around $10,000. Eight months later they sold the economic ownership of the land to the bogus company Eco Green NV for $3 million. A notarial deed signed by notary Gijsbertha shows that Eco Green paid $3 million for the rights – $1.6 million when the deed was signed and the rest in 90 monthly installments of $18,750.

However, when Buncamper-Molanus stepped down in the wake of the scandal on December 23, 2010, she stated in parliament “that no money had changed hands.”

Opposition leader at the time William Marlin said in an interview with this newspaper that the deal smelled like money laundering.

The Judge of Instruction has now given the prosecution three months to complete the investigation against Buncamper-Molanus. The former minister has been labeled a suspect in this case since Attorney-General Dick Piar gave the green light for the investigation in 2011.

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