PHILIPSBURG–Law office Bloem, Bonapart Aardenburg has been discredited to realise certain appointments in utilities company NV GEBE, at whatever cost, says attorney Jairo Bloem partner at Bloem, Bonapart and Aardenburg, legal advisor to GEBE. “We have become part of the narratives with the clear intention to mislead.”
Today, Friday, the law firm is filing the case with the Prosecutor’s Office.
“I cannot keep up with the fabrications and distortions,” said Bloem. “After careful consideration and basically only because of the deliberate misrepresentations, with little to no regard for the damage to our office, I have decided to not only respond publicly on some matters, but to also put this entire matter in the hands of the Prosecutor’s Office.”
He was released by GEBE of his confidentiality obligations on Thursday, said Bloem, whose services were retained at the beginning of 2019 by Bienvenido Richardson on behalf of the Supervisory Board of NV GEBE. “Our legal opinions, memoranda, advices were very much welcomed and appreciated. This can be evidenced from the internal correspondence and more than 176 pages of WhatsApp messages with mainly Mr. Bienvenido Richardson.”
Bloem said it was Richardson who started the practice of inviting him to be present in Supervisory Board meetings to advise on various matters, freely. “Our invoices were promptly approved by Mr. Richardson, according to the secretariat of the Supervisory Board, often within the hour.”
According to Bloem his office denied assignments on several occasions. “The records show our office telling Mr. Bienvenido Richardson that certain specific matters would be best handled by the company lawyer or simply without lawyers.”
Bloem said the situation had changed when Andrew Zagers, who functioned as the temporary manager of NV GEBE for years, suddenly resigned. “The Head of the Internal Audit Department, Ms. Sharine Daniel, who was not primarily selected by the shareholder as a prospective candidate on the Management Board of NV GEBE, immediately seriously started lobbying members of the Supervisory Board for the function of the temporary manager.”
The Supervisory Board would receive notifications from Richardson that Daniel had to be appointed as the temporary manager, according to a representative of the shareholder, said Bloem. “Our office, in keeping with our obligations towards our client, advised the Supervisory Board firstly to seek other alternatives and to only consider Ms. Daniel as a last resort. “
According to Bloem, the law firm’s advice was based on Daniel’s alleged refusal to comply with contractual obligations to NV GEBE. “The Supervisory Board had established that she misrepresented important financial transactions on numerous occasions, and she did not timely share the financial information of NV GEBE with SMCU [St. Maarten Communication Union – Ed.]. placing GEBE in a precarious position with the union.”
Bloem alleges the Supervisory Board mentioned five to six incidents whereby confidential information was leaked directly after Richardson participated in meetings and that such is not the case when he is not in attendance. “A sealed document that was only in the hands of Mr. Bienvenido Richardson found its way to SXM News within 30 minutes.” Also letters of Mr. Bienvenido Richardson violating the confidentiality and collegiality of majority positions that can only be represented by the Supervisory Board, had been sent to third parties.
He advised the Supervisory Board, when asked, to take specific measures to realise accountability, says Bloem. “Suddenly, my invoicing, advice to the Supervisory Board of NV GEBE became a subject of – public – dispute, with carefully crafted narratives that regard my integrity.
“The record shows that when our office, on request of the Supervisory Board and its individual members, started advising about the illegal and irregular behaviour of Ms. Daniel and thereinafter also Mr. Bienvenido Richardson, we didn’t only have to suffer constant misrepresentations, false allegations, twisting of facts and pretending ignorance, but also media publications of deliberate fabrications.”
Bloem said he is providing the Prosecutor’s Office with all evidentiary data today.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/attorney-bloem-heads-to-prosecutor-in-gebe-saga