The European Commission blocks for almost a year to finance development projects for the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. The cause is the possible fraud with funds from the European Development Fund ( EDF ), as reported by NRC/Handelsblad .
OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office , is doing research since last year . The preliminary findings indicate ” possible irregularities in the management of the financial flows by SONA ” , the Development Foundation Netherlands Antilles . The foundation implements development programs for Europe and the Netherlands.
The Commission informed the Ministry of the Interior already on the 7th January stating that pending the investigation no new projects will be funded . In his letter to the Second Chamber of the Parliament two weeks ago, Minister Plasterk ( Interior, Labour) about the legality of the SONA spending, did not mention about the blockage of grant and the investigations .
Rijksvertegenwoordiger Stolte further under pressure
The news brings Wilbert Stolte , as Rijksvertegenwoordiger Plasterk’s the right hand on Bonaire , Saba and Sint Eustatius , further under pressure . He was from 2008 to 2011 as treasurer of SONA responsible for the financial management of the foundation . The position of Stolte was already under pressure for his part in the administrative problems on Bonaire .
The project that is being investigated by OLAF is the sewage treatment on Bonaire, costing 34 million . It is contracted in 2010 by SONA . The assignment went to MNO Vervat International , formerly Koop Tjuchem .
SONA : no suspicions
In response SONA says that there would be no suspicions against the foundation. OLAF does not confirms this. SONA is considering legal action against the Commission , said a spokesman :
“If the European Commission would stick to this far-reaching plan , then the islands together are likely to miss more than 23 million for a variety of projects . ”