Published On: Thu, Feb 10th, 2022

How suspended MP Buncamper played the system and enriched himself

Publisher's note: StMaartenNews.com brings you a 3-parts series of articles on the Buncamper court case after careful analysis of the court verdict. In order to read the complete series, you will have to have a paid subscription. Click here for more information about subscribing with StMaartenNews.com. In the meantime, you can read the first part below...

PHILIPSBURG -- After countless requests, the Common Court of Justice finally made a copy available of the verdict against (now suspended) parliamentarian Claudius Buncamper last week. The 68-page court ruling offers a detailed insight in the way Buncamper played the system to enrich himself, his wife Maria Buncamper-Molanus and his son Anthony. Buncamper has appealed the verdict - 32 months of imprisonment and a 7-year ban on holding any position in the civil service. This ban precludes his return from the warm seats of Parliament to that as Head of the Department of Infrastructure at the Ministry of Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI).

The verdict reveals in sordid detail how Buncamper forged countless invoices in a way that made the VROMI-ministry pay for work that was done for him or his family and even for the Lions Club. It also shows how Buncamper took around 600,000 guilders ($335,593) in bribes from Robelto and Sons in exchange for granting them the contract to manage the dump and for turning a blind eye to violations of this contract.

Witness statements included in the verdict show that companies like Windward Roads and Robelto feared dire consequences if they did not dance to Buncamper’s tune. This is how his wife Maria Buncamper-Molanus obtained the contract for her company Caribbean International Financial Services to do the administration for Robelto against an obscene monthly fee and how his son Anthony found employment at the dump for a ridiculous high salary.

To be fair, the court also acquitted Buncamper of a few charges brought against him by the Prosecutor’s Office. The judges found no proof that Buncamper abused his position to facilitate the re-location of S&Y, a company owned by his daughter Sasha and son Anthony, from Mullet Bay to Kim Sha Beach. There is also no evidence that Buncamper abused his position to make sure that S&Y obtained a rental agreement and a building permit for the location on Kim Sha Beach.

These acquittals are however the least of Buncamper’s worries, because the main charges against him focus on bribery and manipulation of the tender for the management of the dump and on the forgery of a truckload of invoices.

There is plenty of evidence to underpin Buncamper’s conviction. The first charge deals with the fact that he accepted bribes and services from Robelto Flanders and Leroy La Paix between June 2, 2015, and August 30, 2018. The bribes total $27,700 in dollars and 188,800 ($105,475) in guilders, plus a service agreement with Caribbean International Financial Services (owned by Maria Buncamper-Molanus) worth 233,497 guilders ($130,445) and a labor contract for his son Anthony worth 128,832 guilders ($71,973). Total: $335,593.

Buncamper had to deliver a couple of things in exchange for this windfall. He produced a positive advice to promote that the management contract for the dump went to Robelto and Sons. He made sure that safety procedures and other obligations associated with the management contract would not be enforced.

See the follow-up story: Dump-management contract was the goose with golden eggs for the Buncampers

Between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014, Buncamper forged thirty invoices and purchase orders with a total value of $ 351,936, consisting of $98,637 in dollar-invoices, $207,090 in guilders-invoices and $46,109 worth of purchase orders.

These invoices were falsely addressed to Windward Roads for the provision of work, services and goods, while in reality these activities were not done at the request of Windward Roads. The invoices were charged to a preliminary budget Windward Roads had for work at the sewage plant. The VROMI-ministry paid all these invoices after Buncamper approved them with his signature.

Investigators found later that some of these invoices were related to security services at Buncamper’s house and that of Maria-Buncamper-Molanus’ mother, to placing a fence of the mother’s house, to a printer bought for the Lions Club, to embroidered jackets for the Leo’s Club and to improvements at the Lion’s Den in Sucker Garden.

Continue reading: Dump-management contract was the goose with golden eggs for the Buncampers



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