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Suriname president calls for investigation into past administration


Suriname president calls for investigation into past administration
President of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi (GP)

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PARAMARIBO – The Suriname government said on Tuesday, it has filed a request with the Public Prosecution Service to conduct a judicial investigation into possible criminal offenses at the State Health Insurance Fund (SZF) during the administration of the Desi Bouterse government.

President Chandrikapersad Santokhi told the National Assembly that the previous government had borrowed so much money that the national debt has grown to more than 160 per cent of gross national product.

Santokhi told legislators that state-owned enterprises have been emptied, state revenue has been pledged to foreign creditors, and local commercial banks had been pressured to lend money to the former government repeatedly “to fund corruption and mismanagement with the people’s money”.

“Parastatal institutions have been emptied for the same reasons,” he said, citing the SZF as an example.

“The State Health Insurance Fund has also been emptied, so that the healthcare sector is now under pressure and the first file of the State Health Insurance Fund has now been sent to the Attorney General for a criminal investigation.”

Santokhi said the previous finance minister, Gillmore Hoefdraad, “who was protected by part of Parliament”, has fled “because he is simply afraid to be held accountable”.

The head of state also referred to the trial of the former governor of the Central Bank of Suriname and the then director of a bank on suspicion of criminal acts to facilitate the corrupt policies of the previous government.

Santokhi told the National Assembly he will keep repeating these things until it gets through to parliamentarians who supported and defended the policies of the Bouterse administration, but they are now critical of his administration.

(CMC)