Sunday , November 27 2022

Procedures for fibre optic cable were incorrect

The Daily Herald reports that procedures as stated in the accountancy law were not followed when the fibre optic cable company Saba Statia Cable System (SSCS) was established in 2012. This became clear from a document that Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday in relation to questions posed by the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad about the report of the internal audit service of the Dutch Government, the Auditdienst Rijk. The Auditdienst determined in 2012 that the payment of some 1 million euros work capital to the Saba Statia Cable System was not legitimate. The founding of the company in question on behalf of the Netherlands took place in a manner that was not very transparent. According to the Auditdienst, the procedure to establish the BV as defined in the accountancy law (comptabiliteitswet) was not adhered to.
The General Audit Chamber, Council of Ministers and Dutch parliament play a role in this procedure. “The use of an administration office, management by companies, the non-appointment of supervising board member and the transfer of money for the BV on the account of a foundation managed by a law firm make the establishment and management non-transparent,” it was stated. According to the Auditdienst, the supervision on the correct spending of government money in this case was not arranged.
In its report the Auditdienst advised the Dutch Government to inform the General Audit Chamber, Council of Ministers and Dutch Parliament of the deviation from the accountancy law. It also advised to immediately transfer the ownership of the shares of SSCS BV to the Dutch Government.
In the list with answers and questions that Minister Plasterk sent to the Algemeen Dagblad and to the Second Chamber, it was admitted that the reason for the error was that indeed the procedure in the accountancy law had not been followed. As result the Second Chamber was, by mistake, not informed about the extra 2.7 million euros that was made available through a mutation in the 2012 budget for a so-called “stepping-up of the policy” of the sea cable project. The document explained that the information on the recovery actions that have been undertaken was recently sent to the general Audit Chamber. The Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations will inform the Second Chamber and the Council of Ministers following the response by the Audit Chamber.
The National Gazette (Staatscourant) edition of January 25, 2013, showed that SSCS was officially established on September 17, 2012. SSCS, which has its offices on Bonaire, laid the fibre optic cable that connects St. Eustatius and Saba with St. Kitts to provide better, faster and cheaper internet services on the two smaller islands. The original plan was to also connect St. Eustatius and Saba to St. Maarten but St. Maarten hasn’t issued a landing permit for the sea cable.

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