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Probe of police officer ‘as good as concluded’

PHILIPSBURG--The investigation into allegations against community police officer J.S. is "as good as concluded," spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office Tineke Kamps confirms. The Prosecutor's Office expects a trial against S. to begin before the end of the year.

S. was arrested in February 2014 for the alleged abuse of a teenage girl. He was placed under initial suspension ("buiten functie gesteld") which means he was banned from all police buildings and was made to hand in his badge and his firearm after the allegation was made. Whilst the investigation was ongoing, S. continued to receive a salary from the Police Force, as is customary during the investigating of, what was at that point, only an allegation.

After completion of the criminal investigation, S. will also be subject to a disciplinary investigation by the Internal Affairs Department, which will check if any police regulations or professional rules of conduct have been breached.

During a criminal investigation's procedure, an officer has the same rights as any suspect, and therefore is not obliged to answer questions. During an internal police misconduct investigation, an officer is obliged to answer questions truthfully.

Police Chief Peter de Witte explained that, once the criminal investigation is finalised, he will formally apply to obtain the information regarding the criminal investigation from the Prosecutors Office. He will then make a report for the Minister of Justice after which an official decision will be taken about a permanent suspension of S.

A decision will also be taken at that point whether S. will receive part of his salary until conclusion of the court case, or whether he will lose his salary altogether.

Another officer who is subject to a criminal investigation, A.V.H., who was alleged to have seriously assaulted his ex-partner, is still on his initial suspension. His case is still being investigated by the National Detectives, four months after the allegation was made.

Jamaloodin held in Wiels-murder

WILLEMSTAD--Former Curaçao Finance Minister George "Jorge" Jamaloodin (MFK) was arrested early Tuesday morning as suspect in the "Maximus" investigation into the intellectual authors behind last year's paid assassination of PS-leader and parliamentarian Helmin Magno Wiels.

The trial for the "Magnus" part of the case regarding the execution of the murder itself is scheduled for the first week of August.

Jamaloodin (46) was detained in his apartment at Seru Estate. Authorities also searched the home and confiscated several items, as was the case at his private business Speedy Security Group on Lindberghweg, a family member's residence in Steenrijk, a house on Heelsumstraat, a hotel room in Punda and several other undisclosed locations on the island.

It is suspected that Jamaloodin either took the initiative to kill Wiels or helped orchestrate the "hit" on someone else's behalf. The fact that the murder weapon found in the Waaigat inlet on indication of one of the suspects was said to have belonged to a local security firm already led to speculation that the ex-minister might be involved.

MFK-leader Gerrit Schotte in a first reaction stressed everyone is innocent until proven guilty. The former prime minister, who along with his female partner was recently detained for money laundering and forgery but since released, said it seems like they are targeting the current opposition party.

He acknowledged that his name was also being mentioned in the Wiels-case. "I keep hearing that, but they had me for several days so I would have expected the same Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST and the National Detectives to ask me about it then."

Justice Minister Nelson Navarro (PAIS) earlier this week had said there were more suspect people than Schotte in MFK. Jamaloodin was minister in the Schotte-cabinet from 2010 to 2012.

Schotte claimed it is actually within the coalition circles that the answer to the murder lies and if they had questioned certain persons 16 months ago, the crime would be solved by now. He said they did not do so at the time for political reasons and predicted that the PS/PAIS/PNP/Sulvaran government was about to collapse.

Wiels was shot dead on May 5, 2013, on the beach at Marie Pampoen. He was the leader of the largest party in Curaçao, "Pueblo Soberano."

Several people were arrested during the course of the investigation. Two weeks ago a man was held who apparently extorted one of the intellectual authors of the murder.

In April, suspect Elvis "Monster" Kuwas confessed that he had been the triggerman. He said he was paid for the job.

Before he died, Wiels had announced that he was on the track of a "big fraud case." The late political leader stated that he had information about illegal SMS-lotteries that would supposedly incriminate lottery boss Robbie dos Santos, who is Jamaloodin's half-brother and himself the target of a forgery/money-laundering/tax evasion probe. Dos Santos is also alleged to have helped fund MFK's election campaign.

Following a six-hour period for questioning, it was decided to hold Jamaloodin for another 48 hours. After that a Judge of Instruction would have to rule on a possible request to keep him in custody for an initial eight days.

Drive-by shooting

page1a057A drive-by shooting in Dutch Quarter on Thursday night left a young man in critical condition nursing several gunshot wounds at St. Maarten Medical Center. The man, who is said to have been released from prison recently, was riding a bicycle on A.Th. Illidge Road when a small car pulled up alongside and someone in it started firing at him. Police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson confirmed the shooting incident and requested the cooperation of any witness to this crime.

Jewellery store robber, two others arrested with firearm

CUPECOY--A third suspect for the cowardly daylight robbery at Front Street jewellery store "Dazzling Gems" has been arrested by police. He was together with two other men, who were also arrested as the trio carried a firearm with them. Two other suspects had already been arrested on Friday, July 11, the day of the robbery.

The latest suspect and two other men, in a gold coloured Hyundai Accent with number plate M-5768, were stopped by Police on Tuesday, July 22, around 9:30pm during a routine patrol.

The officers spotted the vehicle on Rhine Road as it was being driven in the direction of Mullet bay. The officers noticed three occupants in the vehicle, and saw that the driver and the front-seat passenger reacted in a suspicious manner upon seeing police, as they pulled down the sunshades in the vehicle when the officers drove by.

It appeared to officers that this was done in order to conceal the identity of the occupants. The patrol followed the vehicle in order to conduct a stop-check on the vehicle and the occupants.

After the vehicle was stopped the officers noticed a strong scent of marijuana coming from inside the car. The three occupants and the vehicle were searched, however, no drugs were found on the suspects.

During the search of the vehicle a 9mm pistol was found in a handbag under the drivers' seat. In connection with this all three suspects with initials B.A.W. (32), S.A.E. (20) and V.H. (20) were arrested on the spot for firearm possession.

The suspects were all taken to the Philipsburg Police Station and handed over to the Detective Department which continues the investigation.

At the Police station the investigating officers received information that a warrant for the arrest of the suspect S.A.E. had been issued in connection with the armed robbery of "Dazzling Gems" on Front Street, and E. was further arrested for the offence.

SZV board asked to investigate sickness insurance fund spending

PHILIPSBURG--Health Minister Cornelius de Weever had asked the Supervisory Board of Social and Health Care Insurance SZV to investigate how the funds from the ZV sickness insurance are being spent.

De Weever said he had asked for the investigation "a couple of months ago" after receiving reports "of people spending eight to nine months in Colombia" and "people going to Colombia, shopping and bringing back things from Colombia to sell."

Asked whether these were being done on SZV's tab the minister responded affirmatively.

Government currently owes the ZV fund, which has been operating in the red for years, NAf. 115 million in premiums for co-insurance, AVBZ contributions and fund shortages. The ZV fund registered a deficit of NAf. 11,199,000 in 2013, which was about six million guilders lower than the deficit the fund registered the year prior in 2012.

De Weever told reporters at the Council of Ministers' press briefing on Wednesday that government had been "closely monitoring" the situation at SZV and had been working with SZV and the supervisory board.

"It was during a meeting that I asked the board to set up a committee to investigate the management of the ZV funds and to see how they are being spent and if it's being spent correctly," De Weever said. "Yes, government does have a portion of that and the Minister of Finance is dealing with that portion of the payment to SZV, but there are other internal issues with the medical referrals that have to be addressed."

He said reports are being received and are being passed on to the board. "They have to act on it and decide how they will address these issues internally. The CFO (Chief Financial Officer) also has to look into it and make sure that these funds are managed properly... We can't just look at one thing and say that's what it is. We have to look at the entire situation."

SZV's 2013 financial report shows that the ZV sickness fund ended the last calendar year with a deficit of NAf. 11,199,000; the FZOG fund (for retired civil servants) was in the red by NAf. 1,838,000 and the Cessantia Fund ended negatively by NAf. 176,000. The Cessantia fund ended the year in the red, primarily due to the NAf. 1.4 million pay-out to the former Pelican workers this year, which had been budgeted in 2013.

Registering a surplus at the end of 2013, were the AVBZ fund (for persons with chronic illnesses), which ended the year with NAf. 12,569,000 in its accounts and the AOV general pension fund, which ended the year with NAf. 51,184,000 on its books. The general picture shows that an overall surplus of NAf. 50,540,000 has been registered with SZV at the end of 2013.

The minister said on Wednesday that the cessantia fund currently has a reserve of just over 10 million and noted that a profit is generally recorded annually.

Asked what his ideas were for a structural solution for the deficit of in particular the ZV and FZOG funds, De Weever said government had already started to address this issue since last year. He said too that legislation had been passed regarding this issue and noted that a proposal is on the table from Finance Minister Martin Hassink regarding the NAf. 115 million government owes SZV. The minister has made his comments on the proposal, which is being reviewed. However, there are concerns about the proposal, which has to be discussed internally before it can proceed, De Weever said. He said too that, based on Government Accounts Bureau SOAB, "we know areas that need improvement so we are also addressing those as well."

According to the minister, SZV had a right to negotiate in the interest of the insurance service provider, but seldom uses this right. "So even if they wanted to negotiate with St. Maarten Medical Center, and say, "Hey you know that you are not providing up-to-par service for my clients" they have a right to take SMMC to court and make sure that whatever needs to be done gets done. So SZV has a lot more authority than they think they do, but it's not always utilized, and I think that all these things have to change."

According to De Weever, a new Interim Change Manager will be arriving in August to help with the restructuring of the insurance service provider.

"They have the ESZV, where they would like to see SZV go in the future - it's a great plan, a great road map, it looks good, but if we don't have a year plan and if we don't have a department plan and [know – Ed.] what we are trying to achieve per department and improvements that need to be made, then this will create [a situation – Ed.] where you are just doing things ad hoc."

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