PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance on Friday sanctioned the dismissal of former Kadaster Director Clemens Roos as per August 1, after it emerged he had kept information about his conviction of fraud in the Netherlands from his employer.
In an injunction, on which the Court ruled Friday, Roos had requested that the Court of First Instance declare his dismissal as per August 1 invalid and award him payment of his monthly salaries until the expiration of his contract on December 1, and NAf. 66,000 in damages.
Roos has been employed by the St. Maarten Kadaster as Conservator of Mortgages (“Hypotheekbewaarder”) and as member of the board since September 2008. He was appointed Kadaster Director for a period of five years as per December 1, 2010.
Roos was arrested in St. Maarten on June 24 on request of the Prosecutor’s Office in the Netherlands in connection with a pending sentence for having committed large-scale fraud with social benefits at the Social Insurance Bank to the tune of almost NAf. 90,000 in the 1990s.
Roos had failed to inform the Kadaster about his criminal past. Only after his arrest did it emerge that in September 2011 Roos was irrevocably convicted by the High Court in The Hague to 22 months, six of which were suspended, on two years’ probation.
However, on August 7, 2015, the Court in The Hague ruled in favour of Roos, who was held at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport’s detention centre. Based on this decision, the Dutch Prosecutor’s Office granted Roos a stay on the execution of his prison sentence until the expiration of his contract with the Kadaster. This would have enabled Roos to transfer his work and to “contribute to the Kadaster’s continuity,” as his attorney put it at the time.
In the meantime, the Kadaster had been advertising the vacancy and had sworn in Kadaster Manager Marcia Peterson as Acting Conservator of Mortgages, the second function held by Roos, on July 3.
The Kadaster’s Supervisory Board stated it had lost all confidence in its General Director, “also in light of the turmoil Roos’ arrest had caused for the Kadaster, internally and publicly, in light of the trust that was placed in Roos as General Director and Hypotheekbewaarder, the breach of confidence is beyond repair, despite Roos’ willingness to (temporarily) render services to Kadaster and despite Roos’ work for Kadaster in the past.”
Roos claimed he could not be reproached for not having informed his employer about the court case which had been ongoing since 1996, as he concerned this “to a certain extent” as belonging to the “private domain” of a potential employee.
Roos also claimed he had not been properly heard by his employer prior to his dismissal and claimed his dismissal had been invalid as the Kadaster had failed to adhere to the statutory eight-month notice period.
The Court, however, disagreed and stated that Roos should not have remained mum about his conviction as he had been appointed in a public function in which integrity was deemed a necessity, especially since his conviction involved fraud with public funds.
It was also taken into consideration that Roos had deliberately withheld information from his employer, and that he had “seriously embarrassed” the Kadaster.
The Court found it proven that Roos had been properly heard about his dismissal and that the Kadaster had been authorised to immediately dismiss him due to “serious culpable deficiencies.”
Source: The Daily Herald Court sanctions dismissal former Kadaster Director