Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moroccan MP and Social Security Fraud in the Netherlands

There has been a lot of news about the latest Moroccan elections. Forgive me for not re-posting the mostly uncritical acceptance of the status quo that those news pieces tended to show.
Here is an interesting short article from the Dutch News in English about a Moroccan MP who although well off was apparently also receiving public aid in the Netherlands.

Moroccan MP Must not be Acquitted

THE HAGUE, 17/06/09 - Under pressure from Morocco, the Public Prosecutor in the Netherlands has requested acquittal for a member of the Moroccan parliament that misappropriated 130,000 euros in the Netherlands via years of social security fraud, says PvdA MP Hans Spekman. He suspects "class justice."

The suspect, who holds Dutch as well as Moroccan nationality, received welfare benefit payments from Utrecht city council for 11 consecutive years. Six years ago, the police received a tipoff that he was a council member in Morocco and had a country house and a chicken farm in that country. Due to all his possessions, he had no entitlement to benefit.

The suspect has meanwhile risen to become an MP in Morocco. He is said to have defrauded the council of 130,000 euros. But the public prosecutor in Utrecht has now requested acquittal of the 68 year old man due to a lack of evidence that he had done this deliberately. The prosecutor also considered it was not proven that the man had his main residence in Morocco.

Spekman wants clarification by the cabinet. The PvdA MP was earlier an Alderman in Utrecht. He says the demand for acquittal "reeks of class justice" and suspects the public prosecutor has bowed to years of diplomatic pressure from Morocco. According to Spekman, the MP has meanwhile easily "been able to stash away" all kinds of possessions, such as houses and land in Morocco.

The magistrate will rule on 29 June. Spekman acknowledges that it is not customary for politicians to intervene in ongoing court cases, but finds the case too serious to let it go. He wants a statement from Social Affairs State Secretary Jetta Klijnsma.

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