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PHILIPSBURG–Not only United People’s (UP) party member Maria Buncamper-Molanus will stand trial for tax fraud, fraud and participation in a criminal organisation. Four other suspects, among them also her husband Claudius Buncamper, have been summoned to appear in the Court of First Instance for a pro forma/pre-trial hearing in this case scheduled for January 7, 2015.

The case against Buncamper-Molanus (47), her husband, Claudius Buncamper (51), notary F.E.G. (70), and suspects I.A.H. (46) and T.O.W. (68) concerns an investigation regarding a transaction with a piece of land that was given on long lease.

Buncamper-Molanus ran on UP’s slate for the August 29 parliamentary election. She is a former Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.

The case against the Buncampers came to light in December 2010, when it was revealed that they had sold the economic rights to a plot of land on long lease to a company named Eco-Green NV, against payment of US $3 million.

Buncamper-Molanus had obtained the rights of long lease on the government property against annual payment of approximately US $10,000 in April 2008, while she was a member of the then-Executive Council.

Three days after Eco-Green was established, with figurehead T.O.W. appointed as company director, the Buncampers sold the economic rights to the land to this company.

T.O.W. was a former Department of Public Works worker. Claudius Buncamper was the head of this department for years.

Following these allegations, Buncamper-Molanus resigned as minister in December 2010. Former Attorney-General Dick Piar had already given permission for a criminal investigation in 2011, but due to a number of big murder cases and several other time-consuming investigations, the Buncamper case had been put on the backburner, the Prosecutor’s Office stated earlier this year.

Buncamper-Molanus went to Court in an attempt to halt the investigations in this case, but the Court decided differently and gave the Prosecutor’s Office until November 6 to finalise its investigations.

After the deadline was extended by another three weeks, the Prosecutor’s Office announced on December 1 that Buncamper was indicted and summoned to appear in Court in January. Membership in a criminal organisation was among the charges, without the Prosecutor’s Office mentioning the other members in this organisation.

The charges will be read out to the suspects during the January 7 pro-forma hearing and the defence will have the opportunity to ask the Court for additional investigations, as well as the hearing of witnesses. After that, the date for the actual trial will be set, possibly before mid-2015.

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