Video footage shows Illidge allegedly taking bribe from Bada Bing – Telegraaf bribery-report targets Illidge and DuncanPOSTED: 03/8/13 1:37 PM
By Hilbert Haar – St. Maarten bashing seems to be all the rage in the Netherlands during the Ipko-meeting. First there was the firestorm over the remuneration for our parliamentarians and now there is another row over video footage showing independent MP Patrick Illidge allegedly taking a bribe from Bada Bing owner Jaap van den Heuvel. The Telegraaf reported the story yesterday morning. Our colleagues at The Daily Herald possess a copy of the video and they posted it on their web site late last night.
Solicitor-General Taco Stein, the spokesman for the National Detective Agency (Landsrecherche) told this newspaper yesterday afternoon that he only knew what he had read in the Telegraaf, indicating that the Landsrecherche does not have the material.
According to the Telegraaf, someone gave the video last year to the Veiligheidsdienst St. Maarten (VDSM) and the material is now subject to scrutiny by the Dutch Intelligence Service AIVD. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations also has a copy of it.
This newspaper approached Justice Minister Duncan via email with a series of questions, but so far the minister has not reacted. Patrick Illidge’s phone was constantly engaged, making it impossible to ask the MP for a comment. An email to Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who is responsible for the Veiligheidsdienst, also went unanswered.
We asked the prime minister whether the video footage exists (a question that has in the meantime been answered by the Daily Herald that posted the video on the internet) and if it has been sent by the Veiligheidsdienst to the Netherlands to verify its authenticity. Furthermore we asked whether there is an investigation underway against independent MP Patrick Illidge and Justice Minister Roland Duncan.
We asked the Justice Minister in another email whether he was aware of the Telegraaf-article and the allegations it contains. We also asked the minister whether he thinks the footage is genuine and – if it is not – who could be behind making the images public. Lastly, we asked whether it is correct that, as the article states, that Bada Bing-owner van den Heuvel is looking for a permit to open his new brothel Neverland.
The Telegraaf suggested that the bribes are for a permit for this project. Bada Bing-owner Jaap van den Heuvel was not available for a comment yesterday afternoon. A man who answered the phone at Bada Bing said that Van den Heuvel was “not on the island” and he did not provide contact information. Van den Heuvel’s attorney Mr. Cor Merx had also no comment on the situation last night. He spoke with his client who said that “apparently the silly season has already started at the Telegraaf”.
Issuing a permit for a new brothel would violate the country’s prostitution policy that still states that there are only six brothels permitted to operate on the island.
The Telegraaf furthermore wrote “based on sources” that the whole conversation between MP Illidge and Van den Heuvel has been recorded. “Illidge says amongst others that Justice Minister Roland Duncan was unable to come himself, but that he explicitly acts at his orders.”
The video also shows the payment to Illidge, the paper wrote.
In the Telegraaf Van den Heuvel says that he might have given Illidge a bundle of Bada Bing dollars – advertising material for the club with sexy pictures. The club-owner doubted whether there really is a video showing the meeting with Illidge.
Bas Roorda, the fired head of the finance department in St. Maarten and a member of André Bosman’s VVD in the Netherlands, wrote in an email to this newspaper that he has no active information about the situation.
“I spoke to Bosman today, analyzing the events. We think it is true. Why go to Bada Bing and have Bada Bing-dollars paid out? Jaap (Van den Heuvel – ed.) did not install cameras for fun.”
Roorda furthermore noted that the video is more about Justice Minister Duncan than about Patrick Illidge. “I have the feeling that there is more pressure on Duncan than on Illidge; he is just the middleman. There is also a lot of pressure from the Labor Party, the Socialist Party and the VVD on (Minister – ed.) Plasterk to do something. If I were you I would concentrate on Duncan. It is obvious that the Duncan issue closed the doors for Tuitt when he was in The Hague while the doors were wide open for the Curacao-delegation.”
Below is the video as posted by The Daily Herald: