PHILIPSBURG–The retrial in the so-called Masbangu investigation, involving the buying and selling of votes on behalf of United People’s (UP) party during the September 17, 2010, election, has been scheduled for August 31, the Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday.
The case involves three (former) officers of the then-Police Force of St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba who are suspected of having sold their votes. The Prosecutor’s Office suspects R.H. and of the Voluntary Corps of St. Maarten of buying the votes and/or having mediated in the sale on behalf of UP.
All four suspects have been notified that they should appear in the Court of First Instance on August 31 for the criminal proceedings, the Prosecutor’s Office stated.
The Court of First Instance declared the Prosecutor’s Office’s cases against these men inadmissible in August 2014, because Prosecutors had failed to also investigate the roles of UP and its party leadership in the scheme.
The Prosecutor’s Office filed an appeal against the verdict and the Joint Court of Justice quashed the ruling of the Court of First Instance on May 5, 2015, and referred the Masbangu investigation back to the lesser court for retrial.
Subsequently, the suspects filed a final appeal against the Appeals Court’s decision at the High Court in The Hague. However, the suspects, failed to submit the grounds for their appeal to the High Court despite several reminders by the Court. Therefore, the highest Court in the Netherlands declared all suspects’ appeals inadmissible on March 15.
This means the cases against all four suspects will be heard anew by the Court of First Instance next month. Thus far, no other suspects have been charged in the Masbangu investigation.
Source: Daily Herald
Masbangu retrial set for August 31