Buncamper case will be heard on June 10

PHILIPSBURG--The criminal case against former Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus (47), her husband Claudius Buncamper (51), notary Francis Gijsberth (70) and suspects Ivan Havertong (46) and Theodore Oniel Walters (68) will be heard by the court on June 10, it was decided Thursday.
The one-day hearing will concern charges of involvement with fraud, forgery of documents and participation in a criminal organisation to include a transaction with a piece of land that had been given on long lease.
Buncamper-Molanus ran on the United People’s (UP) party slate for the August 29, 2014, parliamentary election, but is a former Democratic Party (DP) Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.
The case against the Buncampers came to light in December 2010, when documents surfaced in which it was revealed that they had sold the economic rights to a plot of land on long lease to a company named Eco Green N.V., against payment of US $3 million.
Buncamper-Molanus had obtained the rights of long lease to the government property against annual payment of approximately US $10,000 in April 2008, while she was a member of the then-Executive Council.
Three days after Eco Green was established, with figurehead T.O.W. appointed as company director, the Buncampers sold the economic rights to the land to this company.
T.O.W. was a former Department of Public Works employee. Claudius Buncamper was head of this department for years.
The Buncampers are charged not only with fraud and membership in a criminal organisation, but also with tax evasion in relation to payment of profit tax on behalf of Eco Green over the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, and failure to file income tax correctly during 2009 and 2010.
They were charged with forgery of several documents, including a commercial lease agreement between Eco Green and St. Maarten Building Supplies N.V., mortgage documents and a deed concerning the right of long lease.
The Prosecutor’s Office holds all suspects, with the Buncampers leading them, as members of a criminal organisation involved with forgery, tax evasion and the destruction of evidence, it was stated in the indictments.
All five suspects appeared in court yesterday for a second pre-trial hearing during which the inclusion of witnesses’ testimonies was discussed. Notary G. did not have a lawyer present. Asked by the court whether he required one, he said he could do very well without one.
Requests to hear Notary Meredith Boekhoudt, Attorney-at-Law Gert Bergman and others as experts on notarial and fiscal law were all rejected by the court.
Attorney Jairo Bloem said the Buncampers were victims of a “trial by the media.” He claimed the Prosecutor’s Office had “structurally leaked information about this case to the media without any consultation or contact with Mrs. Buncamper for five years in a row.” Bloem said he wanted to hear Today’s managing-editor Hilbert Haar and the Prosecutor on this matter.
Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp denied that the Prosecutor’s Office had tried to influence the judge via the media. “I do not deny or confirm that there have been contacts with the media, but these contacts go via the Prosecutor’s Office’s official spokesperson and not by the Prosecutor dealing with this case,” she explained.
The judge allowed the hearing of several witnesses, but turned down the request to hear Haar and the prosecutor on this matter.
“There is no evidence of the Prosecutor’s Office leaking information to the press. Much has been written in the media about this case, but that is inherent to the nature of the case and the persons involved. There are no indications that there was information deliberately leaked to discredit someone,” the judge said.
Bloem also had wanted to hear Solicitor-General Taco Stein, Prosecutor Van der Wulp and other judicial officials about the so-called undue delay in his clients’ trial, but these requests also were dismissed.
The Daily Herald
Maria Buncamper-Molanus (47), her husband Claudius Buncamper and Theodore Oniel Walters (for Eco Green NV) are represented in this case by attorney Jairo Bloem of Bloem Bonapart & Aardenburg in Sint Maarten. Ivan Havertong (St. Maarten Building Suppplies) is represented by lawyer Geert Hatzmann. Notary Francis Gijsberth was not represented by a lawyer.

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