Minister: building fraud tip had expired
18 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has denied the Public Prosecution (OM) ignored a building industry fraud tip-off, claiming the information had passed its statute of limitations and that the whistle blower had demanded government compensation.
The minister was responding to allegations that the authorities had done nothing with a viable tip passed on by the Housing Ministry. But political sources have since claimed that the whistle blower demanded cash and immunity from prosecution, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday.
Donner also stressed in a letter to MPs on Tuesday that if corruption is to be found in the pubic service, it is a sporadic phenomenon. He also said the latest allegations of building industry fraud and the case of the whistle blower did not contain any indication of public service corruption.
Recently uncovered documents at construction company Boele & Van Eesteren have sparked concerns that construction industry fraud is much worse than previously thought. Former government minister Annemarie Jorritsma is allegedly implicated in the scandal, but has dismissed any allegations of wrong doing.
Meanwhile, the source of the Boele documents has gone into hiding. Green-left GroenLinks MP Marijke Vos confirmed there have been no definite threats, but that the national police KLPD had warned the man that he should be cautious.
The man has not received police protection. He will only get extra security if he specifically requests it, Minister Donner said.
In other news, Economic Affairs Minster Laurens Jan Brinkhorst has proposed requesting construction companies to quickly hand in their shadow accounts to avoid being excluded from future government building contracts.
But Donner stands opposed to the plan, saying that companies would then be forced to co-operate with their own convictions, breaching international human rights treaties.
The Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, was resuming an emergency debate later on Wednesday. MPs also discussed the building industry fraud allegations on Tuesday night.
The latest construction industry scandal follows three recent inquiries conducted by a parliamentary commission, the consumer watchdog NMa and the OM into road construction fraud. The first fines were imposed on guilty companies last year and the prosecution’s investigation is continuing.
Amid parliamentary concern over the latest scandal, the prosecution has confirmed it is examining the matter and the NMa hopes its inquiries can be quickly rounded off due to experiences gleaned in the first investigation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject Dutch news