Justice Min. knew about corruption case against Hague aldermen months before raids: report

Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security knew about a corruption investigation against The Hague aldermen Richard de Mos and Rachid Guernaoui at least 10 months before their homes were raided in October last year, NOS and Omroep West report based on documents requested from the Public Prosecution Service through the Government Information Act. Former mayor Pauline Krikke was not aware of the investigation during that period.

The requested documents show that in January 2019 an email with the subject 'report sensitive investigation' was sent to the top of the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the prosecutor in The Hague. Minister Grapperhaus had already been informed via official message at that time, according to the broadcasters. 

Emails over the months that followed show that Krikke, then the mayor of The Hague, was deliberately not informed of the investigation and that Minister Grapperhaus supported this decision. She only heard about the investigation through a call from the OM on the morning of October 1st, when state investigation department Rijksrecherche was about to raid the homes of the aldermen.

A day later, Krikke told Omroep West that it was not strange that she was not informed of the investigation. "The National Public Prosecutor's Office is investigating and that is something different than, for example, the local triangle [of mayor, police and prosecutor] or something similar to that," she said. The Rijksrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at the government and government services, can decide who needs to be informed of an investigation and when. 

Why Krikke was not informed, is not clear. A lot of information was blacked out in the requested documents, and "the OM does not want to disclose the precise content of the official messages" in the interest of the investigation into the since resigned aldermen, NOS wrote. 

The corruption case against the two aldermen led to the ruling coalition in the municipality of The Hague collapsing. It was also partly responsible for Krikke's resignation as mayor. Both De Mos and Guernaoui deny doing anything wrong.