PHILIPSBURG–Member of Parliament (MP) Silvio Matser’s appeal case against his tax-fraud conviction in the Court of First Instance has been postponed because several witnesses still have to be heard by the judge.
During the pro-forma hearing in April Matser’s lawyer Cor Merx requested the hearing of seven witnesses. The Court of First Instance sentenced the first-term MP on January 7 to 24 months, 18 of which were suspended, with three years’ probation and 240 hours of community service. His now-defunct company Energizer NV was ordered to pay NAf. 4.5 million in back taxes.
The Prosecutor’s Office had requested a sentence of 24 months in prison, eight of which to be suspended, with two years’ probation and payment of a NAf. 4.5 million fine, but Matser appealed the sentence.
His lawyers Merx and tax attorney Gert Bergman had pleaded extensively in their client’s defence in the Court of First Instance. They not only contested the amount in back taxes, but also pointed out a number of errors in the preliminary investigations and claimed a company administrator had made the errors in the tax files, not their client.
The Joint Court granted the defence’s request that the Judge of Instruction hear witnesses. Among those to testify are two tax inspectors. One inspector will have to explain to the court whether Matser/Energizer had been exempted from payment of company turnover tax.
The other will be heard concerning alleged promises that the case against Matser would be dealt with only fiscally and would not be prosecuted in court. Several former Energizer employees also will be called to the stand.
Matser is also a suspect in a criminal investigation called “Octopus.” He spent two weeks in jail while investigators questioned several witnesses. He was released from police custody on March 16.
The investigation into the case that has netted 17 suspects so far, including Matser, continues, according to a statement from the Prosecutor’s Office. Several people, including Matser’s 79-year-old mother, have been questioned by the National Detectives. The case involves alleged vote-buying.
Source: Daily Herald
Matser’s appeal case postponed to August