Ousted Justice Sec. returns as MP

Teeven resignation
Justice and Security Secretary Fred Teeven announces his resignation, Mar. 10, 2015 photo: Rijksoverheid

Former State Secretary of Security and Justice Fred Teeven was sworn back in as a member of Dutch parliament on Thursday, just over two weeks after resigning his office in scandal. The controversy dates back to 2001 when Teeven, then a public prosecutor, authorized a 4.7-million guilder (2.1-million euro) payout to alleged drug criminal Cees H.

Teeven, a member of the ruling VVD party, takes over for newly appointed Justice Minister Ard van der Steur. He repeatedly refused further comment on the payout, the actual amount involved and the sudden reappearance of the related transaction receipt, only reiterating his assertion that there was nothing improper about the payment.

"I cannot look backwards. I am looking forward," he said to reporters Thursday at the parliament. He stated that his focus as an MP is on defense, the welfare of Dutch soldiers returning from serving abroad and foreign trade.

Parliament questioned the deal in a 2014 session, with Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten suggesting the payment was roughly a fourth of the actual total. Evidence of the real amount surfaced in the form of bank transfer records earlier this month, forcing the resignations of both Opstelten and Teeven.

It is Teeven's fifth swearing-in as a member of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.