Alderman resigns over finance scandal
9 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam Finance and Economic Affairs Alderman Frits Huffnagel resigned unexpectedly over an expenses scandal on Sunday.
9 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam Finance and Economic Affairs Alderman Frits Huffnagel resigned unexpectedly over an expenses scandal on Sunday.
Huffnagel's resignation comes after he was embroiled in controversy several weeks ago for failing to declare to the tax office EUR 20,000 in expenses he received while he was leader of the Liberal VVD party.
An emotional Huffnagel, 34, said he was resigning because he could no longer count on support of the VVD's largest coalition party, Labour PvdA. "An alderman needs the confidence of the municipal council to function adequately," he said.
The alderman said he wanted to end the affair well and look every Amsterdam resident in the eye. He regretted the need to resign, but stressed he was not embittered.
The VVD politician received EUR 20,000 in 2002 and 2003 from the VVD administration assistance foundation for telephone, travel and representation costs. Huffnagel was also the foundation chairman.
The error was noticed during an investigation by the city council's accountancy service, which reprimanded Huffnagel. The alderman deposited the money from his private account back into the foundation's bank account.
Huffnagel apologised to every member of the council, but was to appear before the council on Wednesday to further explain the issue.
Despite his excuses, Amsterdam politicians were extremely critical of the fact that the city's finance alderman did not have his own finances in order.
The VVD is now looking for a replacement for Huffnagel and party leader Eric van den Burg has described the matter as a tragedy. He said Huffnagel had a close connection to Amsterdam and had now lost his dream job.
Huffnagel was finance alderman from the start of 2004, replacing Geert Dales who was appointed mayor of Leeuwarden. He has been a councillor in the Dutch capital since 1998.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news