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Published On: Wed, Mar 11th, 2020

Theo Heyliger: ‘I never accepted money from Maasdam’

Theo Heyliger 2020030902 JHPHILIPSBURG – Defendant in the Larimar case Theo Heyliger remembers that building consultant Ronald Maasdam brought stroopwafels for him from the Netherlands. But envelopes with banknotes, no, he never received them, according to Heyliger. Nevertheless, co-suspect JanHendrik Boekhaar, former CEO of construction company Windward Roads, believes that he saw Heyliger accept envelopes with money.

Has he seen the banknotes? “No,” says Boekhaar, “but I now understand, after Maasdam’s interrogation by the judge, yesterday, why Maasdam and Heyliger always acted so mysteriously and Heyliger had to go to Maasdam’s car to get an envelope out of it.” Dutch construction consultant Ronald Maasdam regularly came unannounced to the office of Windward Roads on Falcon Drive in Philipsburg, a stone’s throw from the Cabinet of the Governor, and less than a mile from the government building. Maasdam, crown witness and suspect in the Larimar case, stated this on March 9 last. Boekhaar confirms: “Maasdam entered the office and put the keys to his car on a desk. Shortly afterwards, Theo Heyliger arrived, took the keys from the desk, went back outside and walked to Maasdam’s car. He opened the door and pulled out a newspaper with an envelope in it from the car. I have seen that not once, but several times.” He also saw it up close, says Boekhaar. “In our parking lot, I witnessed Maasdam handing over a thick envelope to Heyliger.”

On the second day of the handling of the Larimar case at Belair Community Center, Judge Stephan van Lieshout questions suspects Theo Heyliger, JanHendrik Boekaar, George Pelgrim and Ron Elferink about their alleged role in bribery and money laundering. None of the suspects has a criminal record. All four answers willingly and politely to questions from the judge and the public prosecutor without even relying on the right to remain silent.

In addition to the lawyers of the four suspects, the two lawyers of crown witness and suspect Ronald Maasdam are also present. Their client is housed in a safe house somewhere. The extra heavy security of Belair Community Center has been lifted, the snipers have disappeared from the roof of the hospital across the street. “Mr. Heyliger, is it true what Mr. Boekaar says? Did you get a newspaper with an envelope from Maasdam’s car? ”The judge asks. Heyliger looks at his interpreter, who is sitting next to him. Then, to the judge: “You mean an envelope with building plans? Yes, I have sometimes taken it out of his car. ” He pauses, continues: “Maasdam always had a newspaper with him. There he extracted information about projects. He let me read articles, asked who financed a certain project, who was the client, that sort of thing. The judge asks Heyliger if he received money from Maasdam. “No, never,” Heyliger replies.

The judge returns to Boekaar. “If money transfers were involved, what is the reason that Maasdam and Heyliger did that at Windward Roads?” Boekaar shakes his head. “I do not know. The office was their meeting point, perhaps because it is centrally located.” The judge notes that the former member of parliament and the consultant took a big risk if they let bribes go from hand to hand in the presence of Boekaar, unless Boekaar was aware of everything and was involved. “I wasn’t,” Boekaar insists. “I only realized it later, when it was already too late.”

JanHendrik Boekaar (56) met construction consultant Ronald Maasdam in 1989. “Long before I started working at Windward Roads,” says Boekaar, who was appointed managing director of the construction company in 2005. His predecessor led Windward Roads (WWR) for only one year. During interrogation in the context of the Larimar case, he stated: “I was too honest and was eliminated by Theo.” Boekaar would have been given the position because he ‘had a good relationship with politicians’.

Theo Heyliger denies having anything to do with the appointment of Boekaar. The new director did have an advantage with Heyliger, who considered him ‘a local’. “He had lived on St. Maarten for about twenty years, he knew us,” says Heyliger. “At that time there were many problems on the island, strikes everywhere. Sarah Wescot, Roy Marlin and I were part of the Executive Council. We wanted a local director at Windward Roads, someone who would work with local contractors. Then the strikes would end.”

Boekaar says he has made extensive use of the services of Ronald Maasdam, who was ten years older and had a lot of experience in the construction sector on St. Maarten. “If I didn’t know something or doubted something about it, I would ask Maasdam for advice.” The two became friends. He could very well separate the personal relationship from the business relationship, according to Boekaar, who borrowed money from friend Maasdam several times, to an amount of more than $ 300,000. “That was private,” says Boekaar.

Windward Roads paid Maasdam three percent of the contract price for winning new projects. The construction of Walter Plantz Square in Philipsburg, work on the Boardwalk, Frontstreet and Backstreet, are some of the projects for which Maasdam raised a fee. But how did Boekaar know that Maasdam gave a part to Heyliger, the judge wants to know. “Because Maasdam told me that,” says Boekaar. “That was in 2011. He said that a large part of his commission went to Theo Heyliger and that there was not enough left for him. He wanted to raise his fee from three to four percent. I said, ‘No!’ I was not willing to pay him more and we got into a big fight.”

Ronald Maasdam testified on Monday, March 9, that JanHendrik Boekaar was aware of the bribes to Theo Heyliger much earlier. Boekaar strongly denies: “If I had known before, I would not have gotten so angry in 2011.” The director ends the business relationship with Maasdam, but still has to pay back a few tons of borrowed money, with interest, and he cannot.

Windward Roads also has major problems. When Port St. Maarten grants the Walter Plantz Square project for 2 million dollars to the construction company, that contract sum is not realistic, Boekaar explains to the judge. “Our quotation for work to be delivered by Windward Roads was much lower than 2 million. But I got a visit from O’Neal Arrindell. On behalf of Mark Mingo, he urged me to submit a higher offer. When I did that, Arrindell came by again and told me to make an even higher offer. The extra price was intended to provide work for local contractors, and Windward Roads had to pay those companies. That also happened, we received a list of invoices and they were paid. “The problem,” says Boekaar, “was that Windward Roads could not check where and whether the contractors had delivered work. And the total amount of the invoices was higher than the additional price of the quotation, which meant that Windward Roads had to pay attention to it. ” According to Boekaar, one of the invoices came from an O’Neal Arrindell company. “We also discovered that invoices had been sent to Port St. Maarten to provide assistance to Windward Roads, while that had never happened.”

Then, says Boekaar, he got a visit from Theo Heyliger in 2013. “He said:” Maasdam owes me money for the Simpson Bay Causeway Bridge.” According to Boekaar, Heyliger insisted that he arrange for the money, half a million dollars, to be paid. “I was afraid of the pressure that Theo could exert. He could ensure that we would no longer receive orders from the government, and that was not so bad, but if he also made sure that we missed out on projects in the private sector, we could stop.” Windward Roads had a credit line of 900,000 Antillean guilders set up to repay Maasdam’s debt to Heyliger. Boekaar had the company carry out work on the Heyliger house, and companies that had money from Heyliger could order cement free from Windward Roads, the suspect director testifies.

“Did you know that it was a bribe?” The judge asks. Boekaar nods. “Yes,” he says. The judge points out that the suspect has made incriminating statements for himself. Boekaar is in a very difficult position, all the more because the Public Prosecution Service has charged him with false invoices. When the judge tells him this, the suspect nods again in agreement: “It is true.”

Heyliger, on the other hand, continues to categorically deny that he has been bribed. “I have never received personal money. Maasdam did donate t-shirts, flags and other material for the elections. He was a kind and considerate man. He had flowers delivered for secretaries and at Christmas he bought gifts for people. He always wanted to be everyone’s friend. When he came from the Netherlands, he brought me a pack of stroopwafels. But money, no, he never gave me money.”

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Heyliger and four others stand trial in large bribery-case
UP Board: Prosecutor presents no physical evidence against Theo Heyliger
Photo reportage start LARIMAR trial at Belair Community Center

 



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