Toon Kerkhoff in AD about the fate of councilors suspected of corruption
Toon Kerkhoff, Assistant Professor of Public Administration, discusses the recent corruption scandal in The Hague and the future of these suspects’ political careers.
The Dutch Public Prosecutor has initiated a research on the councilors Richard de Mos and Rachid Guernaoui, this was announced on 1 October. This research is initiated in response to suspicions official corruption and bribe. This possible violation would have occurred through providing licenses against payments to companies from The Hague. Will this scandal result in the end of the political careers of the suspects? Ton Kerkhoff thinks it is difficult to tell, seeing the size and the uniqueness of this case. ‘We normally don’t see this type of corruption in the Netherlands. That is why it is difficult to guess the consequences for the two councilors from ‘Groep de Mos’. There is almost nothing to compare it to.
Jos van Rey
Kerkhoff mentions how only the case of Jos van Rey could be compared to this case. The old-VVD-councilor from Roermond was guilty of corruption by, for one, taking in gifts from local entrepreneurs. He was convicted to one year of imprisonment on probation. Kerkhoff thinks that Van Rey is still rather popular and has a career. ‘It did damage his reputation and he has problems with the part, but is it ruined? I don’t think so.’
‘The decisive factor is the forgiving nature of the environment. Integrity is not a legal concept, but a moral one. Councilors do not need a proof of good conduct, so there is nothing formally that keeps them from going back to work. The things De Mos and Guernaoui have possibly done, is particularly severe. However, a lot of people will say: what are we talking about? There is this huge grey area of what can and what can’t be done. This is the area they are now using. They say: we have always acted in good faith. And then just see how it will land. One person can simply afford more than another.’