Fmr Minister admits to hiding details in major corruption case
When he was Minister of Defense, CDA politician Hans Hillen hid details about a major corruption scandal involving the purchase of Defense cars from the lower house of parliament, the Tweede Kamer, he admitted to NRC. "If I reported all details about such matters to the Kamer, I would not have time to run the armed forces", he said to the newspaper.
After years of investigation, the corruption case around the acquisition of Defense vehicles will appear in court next week. Main suspect is Jacques H., who managed the Defense fleet for years. He is suspected of accepting bribes from dealers, among other things.
Hillen was questioned as witness in 2014, because he was Minister when the corruption case was revealed. He told the Rijksrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at government organizations, that he would have preferred to resolve the matter internally. According to Hillen, the Ministry of Defense had an internal correction mechanism that worked "very satisfactorily". He also said that Defense pressed charges against H., not "because of the fact", but "because the department must always be able to tell the Tweede Kamer: we did everything we could."
To the Tweede Kamer, Hillen said little about the corruption case. He told NRC that this was not to cover it up, but to protect the suspect. According to Hillen, H. received a disproportionate amount of attention and was therefore in a vulnerable position. After the corruption case came out, Defense transferred H. to a job with "fewer temptations", according to NRC.