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Published On: Sun, Sep 12th, 2021

GEBE’s supervisory directors contest Daniel-appointment in court – again

PHILIPSBURG -- The Court in First Instance declared utilities company GEBE on Friday inadmissible in a lawsuit that aimed to force its sole shareholder - Country St. Maarten - to suspend the appointment of Sharine Daniel as Chief Executive Officer and to contest decisions about appointments and dismissals of members of the company’s supervisory board of directors.

The court ruled that decisions taken by the shareholder are for the account of GEBE and that the plaintiffs should have taken GEBE to court instead of the country. The attorney for the plaintiffs, Jairo Bloem, responded to the court ruling on the same day with a new lawsuit. The plaintiffs are supervisory board members Roberta Diaz and Conrad Richardson and this time the case is not against the shareholder but against GEBE.

Diaz and Richardson ask the court to forbid or suspend the execution of the decision to appoint Daniel as CEO. The supervisory directors base their demand on the shareholder’s “shortcomings in the decision making process” and it's habit of “systematically acting inaccurately.”

The plaintiffs demand that GEBE refrains from appointing Daniel in any management function at the company because this would be “demonstrable harmful.”

The petition to the court states that “possible private interests of certain members of the Council of Ministers” do not outweigh GEBE’s interest in having “a skilled, integer and professional person” in the function of CEO. The petition states that a member or members of the Council of Ministers could stand to benefit from Daniel’s appointment.

There are good reasons to doubt that Mrs. Daniel meets the (above-mentioned) requirements, the petition states. “There are concrete indications that the wellbeing and the interest of GEBE will suffer from her appointment.”

But the shareholder wrote in an email dated August 11 that it did not find any irregularities and that it had decided to appoint Daniel as CEO for a period of one year.

When GEBE called on the shareholder to void Daniel’s appointment, the shareholder informed Diaz and Richardson that “no decision to appoint Daniel had been taken.” However, on August 11 the shareholder had instructed GEBE to prepare a contract for Daniel.

That the shareholder did not discover any irregularities concerning Sharine Daniel seems rather odd, given the information the supervisory board of directors provided to it. The petition contains eleven issues that ought to disqualify Daniel for the function.

The supervisory directors hold it against Daniel that she used money from GEBE to pay the gossip website SMN news, because the site had threatened her with negative reports about a housing allowance she received while she was not entitled to it. She gave the site a $1,500 a month contract, even though she told the supervisory board that she thought this amount to be “astronomical.” 

Daniel also instructed GEBE to pay the invoice of an attorney whom she had hired to address personal issues. The directors also “strongly suspect” that Daniel has been leaking confidential company-information to the media since 2013 in attempts “to discredit GEBE-managers or to otherwise create sensation.”

Daniel also allegedly violated her duty to confidentiality by sharing confidential information in letters to the Council of Ministers.

It is “very likely” that Daniel pretends to have graduated and that she is falsely using the title of Dr., the petition states.

Another complaint concerns the curriculum Daniel submitted when she applied at GEBE for the function of head of the internal control department. “She stated that her previous function was senior auditor at Bank of America while she was only a sales service agent.”

The petition sums up the situation as follows: “There is a shareholder (ergo GEBE) who wants to appoint Mrs. Daniel as a statutory director, while she is completely incompetent.” All this is happening in a “very inaccurate manner and with gross neglect for the interest of GEBE and the plaintiffs.”

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