Ballast Nedam bribed Bouterse
The settlement that Ballast Nedam reached in 2012 not only involved bribes to top-ranking officials in Saudi Arabia, but also to Surinam. The company settled for 17.5 million euros with the Public Prosecution in 2012. Ballast Nedam made payments in installments with a total of 34 million euros, starting in 1997, to build two large bridges in Surinam.
The bribes were paid to the then president, Jules Wijdenbosch, and his former counsel, Desi Bouterse, who is the current president of Surinam, according to Gerard Spong, the lawyer of the former financial adviser of the construction company. Several sources who wish to remain anonymous confirmed this. The construction company built the Jules Wijdenbosch bridge in Surinam, opened on May 20, 2000. The Coppename bridge was opened one year earlier. Despite the settlement, the case is not completely closed. The former adviser of Ballast Nedam, Rob A., is suspected of laundering, and is negotiating a settlement, according to Spong. If the Public Prosecutions decides to prosecute A. instead, the former financial adviser will not hesitate to call Wijdenbosch and Bouterse as witnesses. Auditors office KPMG also settled with the Public Prosecution for 7 million euros in December last year for concealing bribes.