The fugitive ex-Finance Minister Gillmore Hoefdraad is sentenced to twelve years in prison in Suriname. The court in Paramaribo sentenced him in absentia for, among other things, participation in a criminal organization, embezzlement and violation of the anti-corruption law.
Hoofwire did not attend the trial. He has been missing for a year and a half, and it is unclear whether he is still in Suriname. The former minister has been on the want list of the international police organization Interpol for months, but that has not yet led to his arrest.
According to the judge, Hoefdraad acted very consciously. After all, as the then Minister of Finance and boss of the Central Bank of Suriname, he is well known in the national and international financial world. Hoefdraad knew the ins and outs of the government and knew that he would bring the country into major financial problems, according to the judge.
The Public Prosecution Service had demanded twelve years in prison against Hoefdraad. As a minister under the previous president Desi Bouterse, he would have broken all kinds of rules. The charges against him ranged from illegally selling government buildings to abusing royalties paid by corporations.
The prosecution of Hoefdraad is part of a larger case involving abuses at the Central Bank of Suriname. More suspects are involved, such as the previous president of the Central Bank, Robert van Trikt, the director of the Surinamese Postal Savings Bank Ginmardo Kromosoeto and several employees of the Central Bank.
A top adviser to President Chan Santokhi said last year that the fugitive Hoof Wire also took computers that may contain incriminating information. It would concern data about the deals he concluded on behalf of Suriname. It is suspected that he personally benefited from this.