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Frits van der Meer and Gerrit Dijkstra Discuss Parliamentary Inquiry as an Instrument

It seems that the Dutch Tax Offices’ Benefit Fraud Scandal has still not come to an end. New skeletons keep falling out of closets which has resulted in a parliamentary inquiry. But is such an inquiry the proper instrument to make sure that no stone is left unturned?

Frits van der Meer, Professor by special appointment Comparative Public Sector and Civil Service Reform, and Gerrit Dijkstra, Assistant Professor, both working at Leiden University's Institute of Public Administration, are wondering whether there are no better alternatives available other than a parliamentary inquiry. 'That will have to be demonstrated by this investigation'; according to Van der Meer and Dijkstra. 'All relevant information has to be put on the table. As Elzinga (1989) has clearly demonstrated, there are three phases in an accountability process. An information phase in which all relevant information and facts are put on the table. This is followed by a substantive exchange of thoughts weighing and assessing al the information and data that has been provided. This is in a literal sense the accounting phase, which ends with the question of sanctioning: which can result in a discussion on the vote of confidence in case of a negative verdict.'

Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives of the Netherlands)

Van der Meer and Dijkstra are also wondering whether the Tweede Kamer is the right institution to conduct an investigation into the benefit fraud scandal. It is not unlikely that certain MP's might have to be and perhaps should definitely be questioned themselves. 'The Tweede Kamer itself also played a prominent role in the benefit fraud scandal and as such is partially responsible'; according to Van der Meer and Dijkstra. 'Will members who in the past have contributed directly to the context in which this whole policy and deferment situation has come into being also be heard?'

You can reed the full article (in Dutch) on the website of the Montesquieu Instituut

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