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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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‘More council members voted despite conflict of interests’

30 January 2008 - Council members in seven districts have voted on proposals to award subsidies to organisations they were themselves involved in. This is the conclusion of a survey among 143 district council members carried out by students of the Vrije Universiteit (VU).

The study, an assignment for an Ethics of Administration seminar, has not been formally published. The data have been collected in November and December 2007.

Twenty-six respondents said they had ties with organisations that receive subsidies and eight said they have voted on a proposal to award a subsidy to an organisation they are involved with. This occurred in Westerpark, Noord, Bos en Lommer, Zuidoost, Zuideramstel, Slotervaart and Osdorp. Further, 13 council members said they had participated in discussions about such decisions.

In June last year, the Accounting Office published a report finding that three Zuidoost Council members had been involved in conflicts of interest involving personal gain. The PvdA expelled the members from the district council party group. The party also commissioned a second opinion from BING. On the basis of that report, the three council members have been reinstated.

Members of the Zuidoost PvdA have argued that it was unfair that criticism focused on their district (with its high proportion of black residents), claiming that abuses are not worse in Zuidoost than elsewhere. The findings of the VU students seem to lend some support to that claim.

During the next weeks, various studies on the topic will be published. In the February issue of Openbaar Bestuur, Professor J.H.J. van den Heuvel will publish an article on subsidies awarded by district councils. By the end of February or early March, the municipal Integrity Office will publish a report on how subsidies are awarded.

Later this week, News from Amsterdam will publish the findings of a survey among district council members on issues including the role of the Accounting Office.


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