Zuidoost: ‘no proof of clientelism’
28 June 2007 - Council members in Zuidoost
have argued for subsidies for organisations that they in turn receive
money from, the Accounting Office concludes. According to PvdA party
leader Lourens Burgres, there is no proof of clientelism.
to the Accounting Office, seven council members were involved in
conflicts of interest, four of them benefiting personally. In some
cases, council members personally took the initiative of putting
subsidies for ‘their’ organisations on the agenda of
the district council.
The Accounting Office states that council members are actively
involved in granting subsidies, and that decisions are made on an
ad hoc basis. It counted 227 motions and amendments in the 2004-2006
There are speculations that the PvdA should ‘sacrifice’
council member André Bhola, but Burgers says that he does
not see why anybody should step down as yet. This would only become
an issue if they should have enriched themselves consciously.
The Accounting Office says that ideally, council members should
not be active in organisations that may be subsidised. The Integrity
Office also argues for tighter rules, but is not necessarily against
council members working as volunteers or employees for subsidised
Burgers believes that the recommendation of the Accounting Office
is going too far. “Then you will get technocratic governance,
alienating politics from society. We consciously choose for council
members who are rooted in society”.
The investigation was launched after de Volkskrant published an
article on conflicts of interest in Zuidoost last October.
Photo: volunteer activities at Anand Joti
UPDATE 1 July 2007 - National
party leader Ruud Koole and Amsterdam party leader Lodewijk Asscher
of the PvdA have announced that steps will be taken against politicians
who have benefited themselves.
What have council members done?
The Accounting Office has screened fourteen politicians:
Bhola (PvdA) was the chairman of the Anand Joti social welfare
organisation for years. Anand Joti is subsidised by the district.
For his activities for Anand Joti and other subsidised organisations,
he received over ten thousand euro. At his initiative, the council
in 2004 decided to make funds available to a communal housing project
connected to Anand Joti, where he himself also lives. In 2005, he
voted for a subsidy for an organisation that contracted him. He
also on a number of occasions took the initiative for subsidies
that would benefit Anand Joti.
Bhola repeatedly used relatives in Anand Joti projects, for which
they received expenses. Also, five relatives followed a courses
he gave with subsidy from the district.
Lalji (PvdA) in September 2006 presented a motion instructing
the district to reconsider its decision on a number of applications
for subsidies for integration programmes. One of the organisations
that had been turned down was HCC Vikaash. Lalji had been chairman
of this organisation until July, for which he received expenses.
His brother was treasurer.
Lalji objects that HCC Vikaash was not the only organisation that
saw its request for subsidy turned down. Various organisations would
have asked him to do something about their not receiving subsidies.
“I thought that, being a representative, I should do as they
In November, a motion was presented asking to end the subsidy HCC
Vikaash received. According to Lalji, the person who presented the
motion thought that the organisation was ‘rich enough’
as it was. Lalji voted against the motion. “I do not see why
I should not speak out on this motion”.
Ana Alcántara (PvdA) failed
to report that she came along on a trip to Tunisia as a volunteer.
The trip was partly subsidised by the district.
Henk van de Belt (Leefbaar Zuidoost)
failed to report that he was a volunteer for a youth tennis club
subsidised by the district. He received no expenses.
Soebhash Darsan (VVD) failed
to report that he was a volunteer at the Holi Divali Comité,
which had its cleaning costs paid by the district. He received no
Egbert Doest (PvdA) is the owner
of a consultancy that does the financial administration for the
Bolletrie Foundation. He voted against a proposal to reduce Bolletrie’s
subsidy. Today Doest told Trouw that he has not been paid by Bolletrie
since he became a council member (the Accounting Office did not
Willem van Driel (SP) took the
initiative to make funds available for sports promotion and named
Sporthal Gaasperdam as an accommodation to be supported. He is a
member of the board of this facility, a function he failed to report.
Mala Eckardt-Angna (PvdA) is
active in a number of organisations with links to Anand Joti. On
various occasions, she voted for subsidies for organisations she
Emile Esajas (Solidariteit Zuidoost,
Toekomst 21) failed to report that he provided unpaid consultancy
services to the Samego Foundation, which was subsidised by the district.
Stephen Kwasi Oduro (PvdA, Leefbaar
Zuidoost) failed to report that he was active for AMC De Meren,
which was subsidised by the district. He received expenses.
Ernest Owusu Sekeyre (GroenLinks,
LOS, PvdA) is vice chairman of Recogin. He was involved in decision-making
on debt counselling, a service provided by Recogin.
Randy Stena (PvdA) failed to
report that came along on a trip to Tunesia as a volunteer. The
trip was partly subsidised by the district.
Maria Tiggelaven (VVD) failed
to report that she organises soccer tournaments for a sports facility
subsidised by the district. She receives no expenses.
Els Verdonk (alderwoman, PvdA)
failed to report that she does volunteer work at the Riding School
for the Handicapped, which is subsidised by the district. She receives
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