Royal holiday resort in Mozambique faces bribery claims

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The Socialist Party is asking the government to look into Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander's plans to purchase a holiday residence.

31 July 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - The Socialist Party has asked the government to look into allegations of corruption in connection with Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander's plans to purchase a holiday residence in Mozambique.

According to this week's edition of HP/De Tijd, the property developer in charge of building the complex is bribing the local authorities.

The project includes not only a five-star coastal resort but also five schools and a community centre for the benefit of the local population, but the allegations fly in the face of the idealistic nature of the crown prince's plans.

HP/De Tijd says that reliable sources have confirmed that Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima plan to construct their holiday home on the Machangulo Peninsula, around 50 kilometres from the capital Maputo.

While the Government Information Service would neither admit nor deny the report, one of the directors of the South African firm Blue Bay Developments - the property developer which is constructing the Machangulo Project - confirmed that he met the crown-prince several times.

Socialist Party MP Ewout Irrgang objects to the royal family's participation in the project because the property developers are giving houses to senior government and local officials free of charge.

The project's website reports that one house is being given to a local chief, one to his assistant, one to a local government official and another to the head of police.

The website also reports that the developers, the local community and the government set up a 35-member building committee to oversee the project. "At the request of the government the developers agreed to build a house for each of the committee members…"

Asked whether this is bribery, Dave Dahlmann of Blue Bay Developments said. "It could be, but that's how it is (here) if you want to build something."

[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]

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