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• donderdag 11 augustus 2022

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DH | MP Buncamper responds to green light to prosecute him

~ Says systemic abuse in justice system ‘deeply rooted’ ~

Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper.

PHILIPSBURG–United St. Maarten Party (US Party) Member of Parliament (MP) Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper says the systemic abuse in the justice system is unbelievable and deeply rooted.

He made the comments after being informed by the Court of Appeal on Friday that the Prosecutor-General’s Office had been granted permission to start prosecution against him for crimes he allegedly committed while serving as a civil servant.

“The methods and agendas are known to many,” Buncamper said in a statement. “So, from day one I stated that I would be prosecuted by the Dutch, as this investigation is conducted from Curaçao by the RST/TBO [Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team/Anti-Corruption Taskforce – Ed.], where many people on the island have been threatened to say things about the RST/TBO target, or be prosecuted themselves.

“This is just one method utilised in a system plagued by abuse that allows RST/TBO to build a case against anyone in our community.”

He said that while defending himself in front of the three appeal court judges, without any part, in summary or full, of the case file compiled against him, he clearly showed that the case against him had been purely political.

“This argument, just like amongst others, e.g., that concrete statement of witnesses saying that they were threatened by investigating officers of the RST/TBO to incriminate me, otherwise they will face criminal prosecution for alleged tax violations; that RST/TBO never heard me on three of the four charges, but still decided that I had to be prosecuted; that at minimum the case should be sent to a Judge of Instruction for me and other witnesses to be properly heard before a prosecution decision is taken by the Court of Appeals; that I can never have a fair trial and defend myself in front of the Appellate Court, if it holds that I cannot see a shred of evidence or any document in my file, but only seven days after it permits my prosecution,” he said.

“All the evidence presented by me that not only clearly invalidates all suspicions against me, but shows that the investigative process, if it can really be called that, was highly prejudicial, a targeted effort to implicate and accuse me; that the Attorney-General’s Office with the criminal proceeding against me wants to dictate and impose rules and regulations on the functioning of government departments, and as such create his own set of rules as per which it also randomly decides to prosecute; were to no avail, as in their opinion everything was so-called done correctly.

“An assertion made with little to no motivation, by the way.”

“The systemic abuse in our justice system is unbelievable and deeply rooted. From the outset, certainly office holders in St Maarten fight an uphill battle against charges that going forward do not even have to be presented to them. While I just finished a 10-year battle that resulted in acquittals, I now have to start preparing once again for a battle that will most probably go all the way to the Supreme Court once again.”

Buncamper said he will not be silenced by anyone and will continue to fight on the floor of Parliament as he was elected to do.

“This abusive system also seems intent on changing or tarnishing elected officials with bogus charges against which someone cannot defend themselves because they are not presented with the evidence. You are guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around in a Kingdom where we hold human rights and democratic principles high. Time will tell how political the case is and will be,” he said.

Bron: Daily Herald

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