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Bosman wants a probe into Kingdom Relations budget

THE HAGUE--Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party wants more grip on the finances of the Dutch Caribbean countries and a stricter supervision on the expenditures and loans. He has taken the initiative for an extra investigation of the Kingdom Relations 2013 budget.

The Second Chamber's Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations agreed earlier this week to have Bosman carry out an investigation together with the Investigation and Government Expenditures Bureau ("Bureau Onderzoek en Rijksuitgaven"). The focus will be on the chapter "promoting the autonomy of the Kingdom partners."

Reason for the investigation is the recently published annual 2013 Kingdom Relations report in which the Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations gives account for the policy and expenditures of the previous year.

Bosman specifically wants the funds, some 20 million euros per year that the Dutch Government spends in Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten to promote autonomy in the Kingdom looked at and analysed.

"What has exactly happened with this money and has it indeed promoted autonomy of the countries? The idea is not to just spend money, but to spend it wisely," he told The Daily Herald on Wednesday following a meeting of the Kingdom Relations Committee where this issue was discussed.

Funds allocated in the Kingdom Relations budget for the promotion of autonomy involves projects to strengthen and improve, among others, education, government administration and finances, legal security, nature and economic development. Funds are mostly distributed via the Development Foundation Netherlands Antilles USONA and the Aruban Development Fund FDA.

The findings of the investigation by Bosman and the Investigation and Government Expenditures Bureau will be discussed during a so-called legislation consultation (wetgevingsoverleg) scheduled for June 12.

Bosman said he considered it his "primary task" as a Member of Parliament (MP) to check whether Dutch Government money was properly spent in a useful way, wherever in the world. He said the minister was answerable to Parliament about monies that were spent. "I cannot find the information in this budget how this money is accounted for. I want clear answers," he said.

The MP often brings up the issue of government finances, usually of the Dutch Caribbean. Last week he posed verbal questions to minister Plasterk about the approval of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT for a capital loan of NAf. 250 million to construct a new hospital.

According to Bosman, the CFT should not have given the green light because of the bad financial situation of a number of Curaçao government-owned companies. He feared that the Dutch budget might be adversely affected when the Dutch Government buys bonds to finance Curaçao's loan.

Bosman was not satisfied with Plasterk's reply that there was not much reason for concern. He decided that he wanted a follow-up meeting to further question Plasterk about this matter. A general debate will be scheduled in the near future.