Former Mayor Sentenced to Community Service
The Public Prosecution (OM) demanded 120 hours of community service or 60 days imprisonment against former Meerssen mayor, Ricardo Offermanns. Offermanns (VVD) participated in violating professional secrecy by receiving confidential information from former Roermond alderman Jos van Rey (also VVD), according to the OM.Van Rey forwarded questions and cases the selection committee for the mayors post of Roermond was going to present to Offermanns. In exchange for the information Offermanns supported fellow party member Van Rey's candidacy for the council of Limburg, according to the OM. The matter of leaking confidential information by Van Rey is an added bonus in an extensive investigation by the national criminal investigation department into Van Rey. The OM suspects him of administrative corruption and laundering, among other things. The prosecution discovered Van Rey providing Offermanns with confidential information from the selection commission, because they tapped Van Rey's phone for the investigation which started in July 2012. By receiving the information, Offermanns participated in violating professional secrecy by Van Rey and through which the selection committee was scammed, states the prosecution. Offermans stated before the court it was not out of the ordinary to discuss his candidacy for Roermond with Van Rey. He was in close contact with Van Rey because, besides being the mayor in Limburg, he was also the chairman for the VVD in Limburg. The secrecy of a selection committee mainly involves the names of the candidates, according to Offermanns. ' It is suggested I bribed Van Rey to become mayor of Roermond. That is not what happened,' according to the former mayor. He insists he was under the impression the information shared was of general nature, and that he was not aware of any state secrets shared. The tapped phone conversations, however, proof that Van Rey elaborately talked about the casus the selection committee would present to Offermanns, including the preferred, detailed, answers. Offermanss claims the incident is not uncommon. ' It happens everywhere in the Netherlands,' according to Offermanns. If Offermanss had been appointed to mayor of Roermond, it would not be because he was better qualified than candidates from other parties, according to the prosecution. Van Rey would've had an advantage over Offermanns, turning the former mayor into his personal puppet, according to the Public Prosecutor.