~Wife claims ‘stab in the back’~
PHILIPSBURG–The Anti-Corruption Task Force TBO arrested Member of Parliament (MP) Theodore Heyliger at his home in Guana Bay before 8:00am Tuesday in connection with the “Larimar” investigation.
Officers searched his home and confiscated a number of documents and data carriers. Heyliger will be questioned until he is brought in front of a judge of instruction who will rule whether the arrest was done according to the laws of the land.
Grisha Heyliger-Marten, wife of MP and United Democrats (UD) leader Theodore Heyliger, said on Tuesday that the arrest and detention of her husband in the Philipsburg police station is a “stab in the back.”
“They came to our house around 7:00am on Tuesday. They [TBO officers – Ed.] were there for six hours. They came in 10 vehicles. They were very polite with my children, including the youngest one who is six years old. After that, in my mind, I was thinking they were going to take Theo to Pointe Blanche,” she said.
The United Democrats leader was brought to the Philipsburg police station, which has already been condemned by the European Court as unfit for human detention. “For spite they’re doing this. I know now they were just being nice to me in the morning so that they can stick the dagger in the back,” said Heyliger-Marten.
She said she was going to remain calm and silent and allow the process to take its course at least for the next 48 hours. However, she decided to go public after she learned that they were holding her husband in a cell in Philipsburg, which a recent ruling by the European Court condemned as inhuman.
“Why is it that all the other detainees in this and other investigations were held in Pointe Blanche, except Theo?” she asked. “They want to break him; they want to break this country,” she added in her statement to the media.
TBO officers also searched the possessions of his elderly mother Agnes “Aggie” Wathey, daughter of the late Dr. Claude Wathey.
As part of the Larimar investigation, Dutch consultant R.M. (64) was suspected of alleged bribery of former Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI and now United Democrats MP Theo Heyliger between August 1 and September 9, 2011.
According to an indictment that was handed to the suspect by the Prosecutor’s Office late last year, R.M. paid Heyliger US $300,000 for the purchase of real estate – $260,000 via Caribbean Advice and Consultancy Ltd. and $40,000 through Advanced Consultech SA – to persuade Heyliger to award government contracts to dredging company Devcon TCI Ltd. and construction company Volker Construction International BV/Volker Stevin Caribbean NV.
The Prosecutor’s Office is holding Heyliger responsible for accepting bribes of $300,000 in total, “knowing or reasonably suspecting that this was offered to him in order to persuade him to act in violation of his duty,” it was stated in R.M.’s indictment.
R.M. was also accused of the attempted bribery of other government officials. Between August 23, 2006, and August 20, 2018, he is said to have paid sums of money originating from construction and dredging companies such as Ballast Nedam International BV, Devcon, Windward Roads and Volker Construction/Volker Stevin, to one or more civil servants to persuade them to award government contracts to these companies.
These crimes allegedly were committed in St. Maarten, the former Netherlands Antilles, the Netherlands, Anguilla, the Isle of Man, Panama, and St. Kitts and Nevis, the indictment stated. R.M. is also suspected of money-laundering in the amount of NAf. 8,987,532, from January 1, 1997, and of having failed to file income tax, turnover tax and profit tax from August 23, 2006.
R.M. was arrested by the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service FIOD in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on August 23, 2018, at the TBO’s request, and was flown to St. Maarten last year for questioning in the Larimar case. The offices of Windward Roads in St. Maarten were searched last year in connection with this investigation and its director J.B. was arrested.
Also, R.E. and Heyliger’s family member G.P. were arrested recently in connection with this case. Heyliger is expected to appear in court at 2:00pm Thursday, February 21.