Aug 12, 2020 News Comments Off on Suriname issues arrest warrant for former Finance Minister on corruption charges
The police in Suriname have issued an arrest warrant for former Finance Minister, Gillmore Hoefdraad.
He is suspected of 11 criminal offences, including violations of the banking and anti-corruption laws, fraud and embezzlement.
The nos.nl online news reported yesterday that Hoefdraad was banned from leaving Suriname at the end of July but still managed to elude authorities.
He was reportedly seen in the Corentyne area, Region Six, in Guyana.
He is suspected of crossing the Corentyne River, which had been closed to traffic because of COVID-19 restrictions in both Suriname and Guyana.
Since then he has been on the run.
According to the news report yesterday, there are serious suspicions against Hoefdraad, who, together with the former boss of the Central Bank of Suriname (CBvS), Robert-Gray van Trikt, allegedly committed fraud.
Hoefdraad, for example, would have sold 17 government buildings to the Central Bank for 105 million euros. He is also said to have misused royalty income on gold.
According to local media, Hoefdraad had instituted summary proceedings against the Surinamese state because he thinks he is being unjustly prosecuted.
According to his lawyers, the decision to prosecute him is illegal because he has not been heard by Parliament and has therefore not been able to defend himself.
Hoefdraad was previously heard and his defense was accepted by the then parliament, where ex-president Desi Bouterse’s party had the majority.
However, his government lost power during elections a few weeks ago.
Bouterse, a former army strongman who had ruled Suriname for years in the 80s, would have conceded.
After the new parliament took office, after the elections on May 25, it was decided that Hoefdraad should be prosecuted.
According to Hoefdraad and his lawyers, this is not allowed because parliament cannot handle the same case twice.
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