Witness-hearing Roorda-case to take place after recess

POSTED: 08/5/11 1:12 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance was unable to fit in the public witness hearing of Justice Minister Roland Duncan and Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto in the Bas Roorda-case before the recess. Currently, Judge Van Veen is vacationing in Cuba. Upon his return a date will be planned for the much anticipated hearing. The secretary general of the finance Ministry, Sherry Hazel, and the secretary of the Council of Ministers, Cassandra Janssen will also be called to testify.

Bas Roorda was fired as the head of the finance department in March accused of violating his oath of secrecy. In a later explanation, the government alluded that Roorda provided information about pension premiums to the Financial Supervisor Cft while he had no permission to do so from the Minister or from his Secretary General. Roorda will also appear as a witness at the hearing.

The government attempted to convince the court that the witness hearing should be held behind closed doors, but Judge Mr. D.M. Thierry denied the request. Hearings are only held behind closed doors when good morals, public order or national security are at stake, or when the interest of minors need to be protected. These conditions do not apply, the court ruled in May.

The court denied Roorda’s request to be allowed to return to work. Roorda claims that the real reason for his dismissal is that he filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office about financial irregularities at the Tourist Bureau.

The prosecutor’s office has started an investigation into these allegations. The head of the tourist Bureau, Regina Labega, who is mentioned in the complaint together with among others former Tourism Commissioner Frans Richardson, has in the meantime been appointed as managing director of the Princess Juliana International Airport.


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