Published On: Sun, May 9th, 2021

Civil inquiry: more “rotten apples” at the harbor

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PHILIPSBURG — The grievances the Public Prosecutor has filed at the Supreme Court in the cassation against the decision by the Common Court of Justice to deny permission for a civil inquiry at the Harbor Group of Companies show that former harbor director Mark Mingo was “sacrificed” for “more rotten apples involved in activities at the harbor,” Mingo’s attorney Cor Merx confirmed.

The Public Prosecutor wants to have this investigated, but the Common Court does not see the need to do this, says Merx. “The Supreme Court now has to come up with a final decision. The names of Theo Heyliger and Ton van Kooten (Chief Financial Officer at the harbor) are clearly mentioned as one the other rotten apples that need to be investigated.”

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Insiders suggest that Van Kooten never checked invoices, but that he routinely co-signed checks presented to him by Mingo whilst he was and still is the CFO in the Harbor.

The Public Prosecutor took the initiative for a civil inquiry after the harbor paid off a $100 million claim from developer Zebec with a $10 million loan from SZV. Mingo was suspended during that procedure.

Zebec filed its mega-claim after the harbor aborted its plan for a 3,000 square meter development near the port with the argument that Royal Caribbean and Carnival had to approve these plans and that the cruise lines wanted to limit the development to 1,000 square meters.

The harbor claimed that a large part of the settlement was paid by the developer that took over from Zebec, but until this day no development has taken place. The attorney for the Prosecutor’s Office, Rogier van den Heuvel said in May 2018 that this matter warrants an investigation.

Merx represented Mingo during the appeal in this case. His previous attorney Geert Hatzmann did not address the fact that the court never called Mingo for the ruling in his case. “I pointed this out to the court. It made some inquiries and then closed the case, much to the displeasure of the public prosecution because it had not finished its investigation yet.”

It is currently unclear when the Supreme Court will handle the prosecution’s final attempt to get permission for the civil inquiry.