‘Zuidoost council members may face tax problems’
28 August 2007 - The controversial district council members in
Zuidoost have not been involved in serious wrongdoing, according
to a report published last Sunday. However, according to the Accounting
Office, the Tax Administration may throw a spanner in the works,
because they have made ‘incredible’ statements about
The Bing consultancy, responsible for the report, would have uncritically
based its conclusions on these statements, even though they are
incompatible with previous statements and with evidence such as
invoices and receipts. Especially new statements by council members
André Bhola and Egbert Doest are ‘incredible’,
according to Accounting Office director Victor Eiff.
Asked whether he intends to report forgery to the authorities,
he told News from Amsterdam that doing so might not result in prosecution,
because this type of cases are not given high priority by the Public
However, a report to the Tax Administration would probably get
the involved council members in trouble. He thinks it is not the
task of the Accounting Office to file such a report, but says that
all information is publicly available and that any citizen can draw
his or her conclusions.
In June, the Accounting Office concluded that various Zuidoost
council members had failed to abstain from voting on subsidies for
organisations they have ties with. Three current council members
would have personally benefited from such subsidies. They were expelled
from the PvdA group in the district council, but the party also
commissioned a ‘second opinion’ from Bing.
Bing concludes that the problems have been exaggerated: “Some
council members - but others as well - have been careless with regard
to a number of statutory provisions. Not very nice and improvements
are necessary. Zuidoost is not unique in this respect”.
Eiff is not just critical of the way in which Bing carried out
its investigation, but also of the PvdA, which commissioned the
second opinion. Basically, this amounts to saying it does not believe
the Accounting Office, Eiff said. If such a thing would happen more
often, this might affect the basis of trust that is necessary to
be able to work for the district council.
Bing says that additional research has yielded new information.
This information mainly regards council members André Bhola
and Egbert Doest. For the PvdA, the additional research is an important
reason to follow the Bing report rather than the Accounting Office
The Accounting Office finds that Bing has uncritically accepted
statements that have been drawn up after the publication of the
Accounting Office report. Since these statements contradict previous
statements and evidence such as receipts and invoices, Bing should
at least have investigated them.
For example, Doest told Bing that he stopped accepting payment
for his activities for a subsidised organisation when he became
a council member in 2006, whereas the Accounting Office has an invoice
dated March 2007 at its disposal. Doest now says that the invoice
Bhola told Bing he had used a fee to pay for expenses, whereas
according to the Accounting Office, other documents show that these
expenses had already been paid by an organisation.
Asked to respond to the Accounting Office’s criticism, both
Bhola and Doest referred to the Bing report. “The Bing report
reflects reality, and it is correct”, Doest said in an e-mail
Illustration: Zuidoost District Office (photo Pieter Delicaat
/ Wikipedia). Background: Bing
Office investigation plus responses to Bing investigation (all
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