WILLEMSTAD– Curaçao’s National Detectives conducted three searches on Wednesday morning, all in connection with the bribery complaint of MAN parliamentarian Yaël Plet.
The raids, under supervision of Judge of Instruction Solange Christiaan, took place at the respective homes of former Prime Minister and current MFK fraction leader in Parliament Gerrit Schotte (42) in Salina, former MAN minister, current PAS leader and MFK candidate for the upcoming April 28 elections Charles Cooper (53) in Bottelier, and marketing company Antillean Billboard NV owner Gilbert Ricardo (51) in Mahaai.
Plet had filed a complaint about attempted bribery on February 22 this year. According to him, he was approached by an intermediary to resign from MAN, take his parliamentary seat and become an independent member to support the then MFK-led opposition in exchange for money.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that these three raids took place. Spokesman Norman Serphos said during the investigation into the attempted bribery they encountered an alleged case of bribery of another unnamed parliamentarian that actually took place.
A tearful Schotte told TeleCuraçao, the paper he was handed when the authorities showed up at his door did not mention which case it concerned. This was confirmed by his attorney Marije Vaders, who was also present.
He said during the investigation in 2010, which later became the “Babel” case, they had conducted a similar raid in connection with unusual financial transactions MOT reports, but this had not produced any result. However, they searched for proof of other facts and got in trouble with the lawyers.
“They learned their lesson so now they put nothing clear on paper. This opens the road for them to do whatever they want.”
He added that the only way this kind of injustice and witch hunt directed form the Netherlands can be stopped is with political independence.
Cooper said apparently this is the reason he cannot become Prime Minister of the interim cabinet backed by the MFK/KdNT/PS/MP/Braam/Dannawi majority. “I never spoke to Plet and if an intermediary was used why don’t they question that person instead of me?”
Authorities found some NAf. 150,000 at Cooper’s house, but that money supposedly belongs to his wife, a medical doctor who runs a healthcare business there. She is angry because the officers called her a money launderer.
Ricardo said the matter had to do with Cooper, Schotte and Plet. Two memory sticks and a compact disc were taken from him.
Sources say Plet worked for Ricardo before. “I am friends with all three,” responded the businessman. “Any offer I’m made that I can’t live with I reject, but I speak to everyone.”
Both Schotte and Cooper have officially been named suspects in the case, but no one was arrested.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/64977-raids-at-houses-schotte-cooper