Published On: Sun, Oct 27th, 2019

“Domain Affairs is devoid of long lease policies”

MP Christophe Emmanuel - 20191026

PHILIPSBURG – “I am completely innocent of these trumped-up charges,” National Alliance MP Christophe Emmanuel said in an interview with 721news anchor Gromyko Wilson, shortly after he was released from custody. Emmanuel added that the timing of his arrest is suspicious and that “everything is going well with the screening process.”

Emmanuel is most likely formateur Silveria Jacobs’ preferred candidate for the position of minister of Public Health, Labor and Social Affairs (VSA). His arrest could potentially throw a spanner in the works.

Emmanuel’s attorney Zylena Bary did most of the talking in the interview. “The prosecutor’s office is there to prosecute crimes,” she pointed out. “And we have to get away from the concept that you are guilty once you have been arrested.”

Bary noted that the crime her client is supposed to have committed dates back to November 1, 2017. On that date, Emmanuel issued land on the ring road in long lease to several individuals. “It became an issue because locals got these properties,” Bary said.

The attorney seriously questions the actions by the prosecutor’s office and the National Detectives. “If this is such a serious crime, committed two years ago, why is it that he is arrested a week before my client is finishing whatever screening process he is going through? Why was he not simply invited for an interview with the national detectives? The prosecutor’s office is supposed to use proportionality in its actions.”

Zylena BaryBary referred to the investigation former VROMI-Minister Miklos Giterson conducted into the issue of land in long lease by Emmanuel. On February 14, 2018, Giterson issued letter clarifying what he had found: a violation of policies.

Bary said that Emmanuel had signed off on the long lease agreements a day before the parliament supported a motion of no confidence against the government of which he was a part. “Not on the day after the vote. Leave policies to the politicians,” she added.”The prosecutor’s office is not there to deal with policies. If you say a policy was violated but there is no reference possible to a policy, then no crime was committed.”

Bary furthermore said that the prosecutor’s office actions against her client were inspired “by politics, not by the seriousness of this issue. My client is being painted as another corrupt politician. It disgusts me.”

Bary referred to three videos; in two of them former Minister Giterson makes statements to parliament. “Domain Affairs is not working on long lease policies. Domain Affairs is actually devoid of policies on long lease land,” he said. And since there are no policies, the minister said in another video, the issue of long lease land is up to the minister’s discretion. “Domain Affairs advises, the decision is taken by ministerial decree.”


Related links:
Opinion piece: “Law on long lease
Exclusive interview with Gromyko Wilson of 721news.com
These are the three videos that the lawyer Zylena Bary spoke about in the interview:
Video # 1
Video # 2
Video # 3