by STAFF WRITER
December 17, 2021
PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Dec 17, CMC – Former finance minister, Gillmore Hoefdraad, was on Friday sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined SRD$500, 000 (One Suriname dollar=US$0.04 cents) after he had been found guilty in absentia on a number of charges including misuse of state resources.
The Court of Justice also announced that Hoefdraad, could face an additional 12 months in jail if he fails to pay the fine. It has ordered his immediate arrest even as his lawyers called for his acquittal for lack of evidence.
The defence lawyers said that they will “resist’ the judgment in absentia and will file the appeal, meaning that the former finance minister, an economist, will have to be physically present in court when the appeal is likely to be heard.
On August 12, 2020, police issued an arrest warrant for Hoefdraad, on 11 charges including violations of the banking and anti-corruption laws, fraud and embezzlement.
The investigation against Hoefdraad, 58, comes amidst irregularities at the Central Bank of Suriname (CBvS).
Suriname media reported that Hoefdraad was banned from leaving Suriname at the end of July but still managed to elude authorities.
The online publication dwtonline.com reported Friday that the Court had found the former finance minister guilty of violation of the Anti-Corruption Act, misuse of state resources, participation in a criminal organization and misappropriation of office.
The Court has also authorized the Public Prosecution Service to initiate a criminal investigation into possible crimes committed by Hoefdraad and others fin relation to funds being withdrawn from the Central Bank of Suriname.