Home of former Sint Maarten housing minister raided in prosecutor's investigation
The Public Prosecution Service on Sint Maarten announced on Wednesday morning (local time) that investigators searched the home and workplaces of former Minister Christophe Emmanuel, who handled the policy for housing, spatial planning, environment and infrastructure. The searches were carried out on Monday. "On the same day more searches have been conducted at the residences of other accomplices," the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said.
"This investigation focusses on several project tenders, as well as issued permits. The suspicion concerns abuse of position, the commitment of fraud and forgery, and the acceptance of bribery," the OM said.
Emmanuel, 47, is currently an independent parliamentarian. He was in the crosshairs of a major investigation dubbed "Jasmine," though prosecutors did not disclose any specific incidents.
The investigation is being conducted by the National Detectives office, with assistance from the Criminal Investigation Team (RST). It is being led by the OM on Sint Maarten, and the Attorney General's Office of Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The searches were conducted under the supervision of a magistrate, the OM said.
Emmanuel's successor, Minister Miklos Giterson, said in 2018 that Emmanuel leased out 12,000 square meters of land on his last working day as a minister in November 2017. It was on that day it became clear that the second Cabinet of Prime Minister William Marlin would fall.
Giterson said an investigation showed that the land was issued to eight different individuals and that officials had advised against Emmanuel's actions.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times