~ De Weever against request ~
PHILIPSBURG–The Court will give its verdict on June 26 after examining a request submitted by the Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday to investigate possible mismanagement within the Port of St. Maarten Group of Companies.
“On the basis of a preliminary investigation, there is sufficient reason to doubt proper management at the harbour,” the Prosecutor’s Office stated in a press release.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Cornelius de Weever was also heard in court on Thursday and said he is opposed to the Attorney General’s request.
The minister spoke on behalf of country St. Maarten and supported the Port’s position, which was to deny the request to grant permission for a civil investigation. Port St. Maarten is represented by the HBN Law Firm. After hearing both sides, the court said the written verdict will be ready for June 26.
The preliminary investigation spawned several questions about the state of affairs at Port St. Maarten. It was discovered that in the past the government-owned company had three members on the Board of Directors instead of five, which is the legal requirement. Annual accounts were not approved on time and internal legal guidelines were not complied with.
The manner in which projects were put out to tender and the way loans were taken out also raised questions, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. The separate “Emerald” criminal investigation has led to the suspicion that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo, together with other suspects, had over a number of years allegedly robbed the harbour of at least US $8 million by signing fraudulent invoices.
The Enterprise Division of the Court held a special session behind closed doors on Thursday with both parties present.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76940-court-to-decide-on-port-inquiry-request-june-26