photo: Leoni Leidel-Schenk

WILLEMSTAD – Emsley Tromp, who has been president of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten since 1991, has to defend himself in court tomorrow. He is namely accused of benefiting from money from private pension funds.

The ‘damage’ Curaçao has suffered, is an estimated 5.5 million guilders (2.8 million euros) according to the Public Prosecutor. Tomorrow the court will continue on this case named ‘Saffier’.

Motivated by the Netherlands
In August last year Tromp was temporarily left his position. The dismissal procedure is now put in motion by the Council of Ministers. According to Tromp this is a ‘political pursuit’, motivated by the Netherlands. Tromp’s lawyer Niels van der Laan stressed that what is taken place is a ‘political process from higher powers’.

The Saffier investigation is executed by the Team for Combating Undermining (TBO). The Netherlands allocated 22 million for this investigating team. TBO conducts large scale investigations into the interrelationship between the under and upper world of Curaçao and St. Maarten.

During the pre-trial in July Van der Laan called upon Judge Tjarda van der Spoel to instruct the Public Prosecutor to declare the case inadmissible, but the judge ruled that the investigation be conducted.

Financieele Dagblad
Tromp also came into questioning over a scandal that was publicized in the Financieele Dagblad in the summer of 2016. The newspaper was shown a confidential rapport from the Dutch national bank. This report presented evidence that local insurer Ennia on Curaçao was being bankrupted under the watchful eye of the Central Bank, which was under the leadership of Tromp.

Also according to the newspaper Tromp tampered with private spending accounts. Tromp called it a personal slander campaign against him. “I do not understand how such a newspaper proclaims factual inaccuracies, which can be easily refuted”, said Tromp at the time.

A new raid was carried out at Ennia on Wednesday, in connection to the Saffier investigation. In a brief press release Wednesday, the company informed its clients that ‘it pertained to an investigation of an ex-client of Ennia, the accused is facing criminal charges.’ The company emphasized that neither Ennia nor any of its employees are suspects in this case. The Public Prosecutor confirmed this.

PWC report
In autumn of 2014 a report on the function of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten was publicized by the PwC-Nederland. Among other things it was mentioned in the report that Tromp ‘is able to make decisions, the power is in his hands’.

Before the publication in the Financiaale Dagblad there were several articles in the local media about Tromp’s private finances. For example, a 3 million-guilder loan was allegedly granted without collateral to his former girlfriend’s clothing company. Part of it, $400,000.00, was stashed in his own pension fund.

Integrity investigation
In reaction Curacao’s former Finance Minister Jose Jardim and St. Maarten’s Richard Gibson, demanded an integrity investigation be carried out on Tromp by the General Intelligence and Security Service. Curaçao and St. Maarten are in a financial union with one Central Bank, which has its headquarters in Willemstad. The Second Chamber has also posed questions and will probably be following tomorrow’s proceedings.