Published On: Fri, Jul 5th, 2019

Petit repeats old accusations against Minister Lee

Dr. Michel Petit during live interview Fernando Clark radio show - 20190705

PHILIPSBURG – Dr. Michel Petit, the former chairman of the supervisory board of Social and Health Insurance SZV, launched what can be considered an unprecedented attack against caretaker Public Health Minister Emil Lee and SZV manager Glen Carty during a radio interview with Fernando Clark on Friday, July 5, 2019.

Petit said in the interview that every account SZV manages – among them the funds for old age pension (AOV), cessantia, sickness and accidents – has to be managed separately. SZV has however established a Swingfund that enables it to use surpluses from one fund to support funds with a deficit. “The pension fund is the only fund that has money. They are abusing the system and it is against the law,” Petit claimed. “The law does not allow the pension fund money to be invested.”

The National Ordinance AOV charges SZV with managing the Old Age pension fund. The ordinance also states in article 25 that rules pertaining to the investment of AOV-funds will be regulated in another national ordinance. This article confirms that the legislator expects managers of the AOV-fund to invest its assets. But the investment-rules have not been laid down in a national ordinance yet. Petit’s claim that investing AOV-funds is prohibited by law is incorrect.

“The biggest threat,” Petit continued, “was the investment in the completion of the government administration building. That was a bad investment because the government is a bad payer.”

That remark about the government’s payment behavior relating to premiums has merit: the government has huge payment arrears in that field. SZV bought the government administration building a couple of years ago and now rents it back to the government. According to SZV, the government has paid the rent every month and since the arrangement was put in place it has not missed a single payment.

Petit furthermore said that SZV’s supervisory board does not give advice about intended investments: “They need permission from the board.”

SZV has however put an investment committee in place that assesses the pros and cons of these investments.

Nevertheless, Petit said: “Glen Carty needed the okay from the minister (for investing in the government administration building), who needed the okay from the Council of Ministers. But the okay from the Council of Ministers does not make it legal. The law says that AOV-money cannot be invested and Carty has to follow the law. The minister has no business instructing the director what to do. Interfering with the SVZ-organization is wrong.”

A couple of years ago, Petit took his case to the prosecutor’s office with the intention to file a criminal complaint. “They told me it was not a criminal matter but that it was potentially a violation of administrative law and that I had to take it to the administrative court. They did not say that I did not have a case.”

Petit did not pursue the matter in administrative court, citing prohibitive legal fees. He however maintains that investments from the AOV-fund are illegal.

Petit said that the short-term $10 million loan from SZV to the harbor (for settling a legal dispute) was “illegal too.”

Radio host Fernando Clark concluded, based on Petit’s statements, that the motion of no confidence against Minister Lee was “long overdue” and he pressed Petit to acknowledge this. “He has been breaking the law since 2015 and he should be locked up for it,” Clark said. To which Petit responded: “I agree with you.”

Clark furthermore stated – based on Petit’s statement that Minister Lee had obtained permission for investing AOV-money from the Council of Ministers – that all ministers ought to be locked up.

When Clark opened the microphone for listeners to contribute their two cents practically all callers mimicked Petit’s and Clark’s statements.

Video recording of the interview with Dr. Petit:

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