Eight politicians resign in midst of corruption saga
21 October 2005
BRUSSELS – Eight administrators of a social housing company have resigned after a week-long criminal investigation.
Wallonia’s Housing Society sent inspectors to Foyer Louvierois in La Louviere on 14 October to see how it was being managed.
The probe is one of several which were started after the eruption of the La Caroloregienne scandal in Charleroi. On Thursday, alderman Serge Van Bergen became the fourth suspect to be charged with fraud over the affair.
So far, no politicians face criminal charges in the La Louviere case, however, repeated calls have been made for those who served as board members to step down.
On Thursday evening, six socialist administrators and a CDH administrator decided to resign, with the socialists calling for an independent audit of the company finances.
On Friday afternoon, the CDH president of the Louviere society also announced his resignation. “I am not hanging onto my seat as president contrary to what I’ve been reading in the press,” said Jean-Marie Brynaert.
The resignations come as the Walloon government adopts a new plan on housing societies, which aims to improve the way they are managed.
Minister-president Elio di Rupo pledged a clean-up operation when he took over from Jean-Claude Van Cauwenberghe, who was forced to quit over La Caroloregienne where administrators were alleged to have misused company funds and claimed excessive expenses.
The reputations of the francophone socialist party and Wallonia politics have been badly damaged by the recent scandals.
At the meeting where Di Rupo’s appointment was approved, the PS voted for tougher new rules on declaring benefits accrued from public positions held and more powers for the audit committee to investigate and punish cases of abuse.
Di Rupo also pledged to weed out the bad apples from his party. “A social housing company is made for social housing,” he told Congress. “We have to make sure we investigate this at every level, in every nook of the PS. I believe our behaviour should on all points conform to our values and we can’t justify any breach when it comes to that.”
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news