Expatica news

Prosecution to appeal Godett jail term

6 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Antillean Public Prosecution Office (OM) is to appeal against the one-year jail sentence imposed on prime minister-elect Anthony Godett, who was recently convicted on corruption charges.

The prosecution had earlier demanded that the leader of the FOL political party — who was found guilty of forgery, accepting bribes and money laundering — be jailed for two years.

The charges relate to a massive fraud and corruption inquiry in the Netherlands Antilles. Godett won the government elections last year, but was unable to take up the position as prime minister due to the ongoing inquiry.

Meanwhile, an appeal has also been lodged against Nelson Monte, who was the chief suspect in the fraud case. Monte was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail, but the prosecution had demanded a six-year jail term.

Brothers Chris and John Winkel were sentenced to 15 months, nine fewer than what the prosecution demanded and appeals have also been lodged against both rulings, news agency ANP reported.

An OM spokesman said the decision to appeal was purely a question of legal principle. The judge acquitted Godett, Monte and the Winkel brothers on certain charges and the prosecution is demanding that the judge re-address these matters.

Godett has already submitted an appeal to his jail sentence, as has co-convicted Monte. It is not yet known when the appeals will be heard.

A total of 18 people have appeared in court in connection with allegations of fraud and corruption in various government companies on Curacao. One person was acquitted, while the others were sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to 15 months.

Despite the criminal allegations, Godett’s sister Mirna was appointed prime minister last year, but her brother is still considered to be the power behind the throne.

Tension was sparked between the Netherlands and the Antilles when Anthony Godett sparked talk of Curacao, the largest Antillean island, gaining eventual independence.

Conflict over the drugs trade between the two nations, diplomatic squabbles and calls to make English an official Antillean language have further strained relations between the former colony and the Netherlands.

But the tension has cooled off in recent months and Mirna Godett conducted an on-again, off-again official visit to the Netherlands late last year.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news