decided to drop money laundering charge due to prosecutor’s misconduct.
PHILIPSBURG:— The prosecution requested that the Buncamper’s namely Maria Buncamper Molanus and Claudius Buncamper be sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, six of which suspended and a three year probation be placed on the couple. As for notary Gijsbertha the prosecution demanded 15 months prison sentence, five of which suspended also with a three year probation.
For Ivan Haverthong the prosecution demanded 12 months imprisonment, four of which suspended along with a three year probation. While they ask the judge to impose a four months suspended sentence on Theo Walters. The case of the Buncampers’ goes back to over five years after it was discovered that the couple had obtained government lease land on Pond Island and sold the economic rights of the property to a company “Eco Green” created by one of their friend’s Theo Walters.
The Attorney General’s office released a summary of the proceedings that was held in the Court of First Instance on Wednesday while the defendants will be presenting their defense on Thursday.
The suspects are accused primarily of committing forgery. The core issue revolves around a piece of land that the couple B. had held since 2005. First by renting it from the island territory Sint Maarten, then by aquiring a lease. To obtaining the land, however, conditions were attached, for example the land could not be subleased or made available to a third party. The price paid by the couple B. was about NAf 22,000 and later even less, namely NAf 18,495 ANG per month.
Right from the first moment of obtaining the land, the couple B., however, made it available to the company of I.H. called SBS. SBS was significantly to paid for it, as it was intended from the outset that SBS would pay about USD 5,000 a month. Later this amount was increased to USD 18,750 per month in addition to a fee of USD 750,000. Ultimately USD 3 million was paid to the couple B.
The couple B. did not want to pay any tax on the income derived from the land, which they were not allowed to rent out. A solution was needed and found with the aid of notary F.G. That solution was the establishment of the holding called “Eco Green” to allow the transition between the B’s and SBS. Although the official director was T.O.W., it was clear from the whole dossier that the actual owners of Eco Green was the couple.
While it is questionable whether country St. Maarten should have allowed this construction thus depriving itself from gaining income, is this in itself not the core of the accusation. Apparently, country St. Maarten did not mind this misuse of the system of long lease therefore favoring some individuals.
The allegation against the defendants has to do with the fact that there are lies included in the records used to make the construction possible. That is called lying and in court it’s called forgery.
In addition, the couple B is accused of not paying enough in taxes to the country.
In a later phase of the research was a major mistake was made by the former case prosecutor. During a search at the couple B’s house pictures of documents were taken while some of these pieces fell under the law of privacy in communications between suspect and lawyer. The search was related to money laundering and this was submitted as a separate charge for the suspects I.A.H. and the couple B.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office however, has decided to not to prosecute the accused of this offence, because it could appear as though during the house search the public prosecutor did not act with integrity. Therefore, the Publis Prosecutor’s Office has asked for the money laundering charge to be inadmissible. All other facts can simply be treated as they are.
In the determination of the demand, the following factors have been of interest. Both Mr. and Mrs. B. are public servants and should serve the country’s interests. This they have not done. Their motive was just to make as much profit as possible, without actually doing anything. At the moment, the Public Prosecutor’s Office assumes that they have earned a total of approximately NAf 635,000 and also a block of shares was sold for USD 1,145,000. In due course this illegally obtained assets will have to be taken away.
The notary F.E.G. is accused of having deliberately included falsities in authentic deeds. Thus he confounded the trust society should have in similar documents.
The suspect T.O.W. contributed with everything and received a generous salary. Each month USD 1,500 was paid to him for being the director of a company that was inactive.
Ultimately, SBS and thus suspect I.A.H. got the plot of land. Country Sint Maarten in 2013 gives permission to the couple B. to sell the right of long lease. This took place after articles published in the media. This way the “shadow construction” came to light. I.A.H and the couple B. were once again benfitted from this.
However, these facts are from earlier dates. Imprisonment is considering all the circumstances, the only appropriate punishment.
Source: St. Martin News Network Prosecution demanded prison time for the Buncampers and co-defendants.