Published On: Thu, May 24th, 2018

Court handles request to investigate mismanagement at the port

Court House Philipsburg square

PHILIPSBURG – The court will hear arguments on Thursday morning from the public prosecutor’s office and defense attorneys for the harbor about a request by the attorney-general to initiate an investigation into possible mismanagement at the port of St. Maarten.

The prosecutor’s office formerly requested to initiate this investigation in September 2017. A preliminary investigation triggered several questions; it appeared that the supervisory board had only three, instead of the legally required five, members, that annual accounts were not approved on time and that the port did not comply with internal legal requirements. The manner in which projects were tendered and the way loans were taken out also raised questions.

The criminal probe into wrongdoings at the port – the so-called Emerald investigation has “led to the suspicion that the Chief Executive Officer of the port, together with other suspects, has robbed the port over a number of years of at least $8 million by signing fraudulent invoices,” the prosecutor’s office said in a press release.

Port CEO Mark Mingo, Checkmate Security-director O’Neal Arrindell and parliamentarian Frans Richardson (United St. Maarten party) are all suspects in the Emerald-investigation. They will appear in court on June 11.

Because of the large-scale financial fraud, the prosecutor’s office questions the port’s financial situation and is calling on the court to investigate whether it is in a position to meet its obligations.