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Cablegate: Attacking Corruption Lite: Sentences in Suriname Positive,

VZCZCXRO1380
RR RUEHGR
DE RUEHPO #0242 1561904
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041904Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0214
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHAO/AMCONSUL CURACAO 1267

UNCLAS PARAMARIBO 000242

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR: JROSHOLT, WHA/PDA: CWEST

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV NS
SUBJECT: ATTACKING CORRUPTION LITE: SENTENCES IN SURINAME POSITIVE,
BUT TOO SHORT

REF: a) PARAMARIBO 222

b) PARAMARIBO 470
c) PARAMARIBO 444

1. (U) SUMMARY. On May 13, a Surinamese judge handed down seven
sentences in a much talked about corruption case (refs B, C)
involving the Ministry of Finance. The convicted officials were
charged with the embezzlement of 6,118,379 Surinamese Dollars
(approximately U.S. $2.1 million), participation in a criminal
organization, and fraud. The sentences continue the government's
trend of taking action against corrupt officials (reftels), but some
observers consider the sentences too light. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------
Offence and Sentencing Details
------------------------------

2. (U) On May 13, seven officials from the Ministry of Finance
were sentenced for manipulating payment vouchers after payment was
authorized by the Ministry of Education. The two main suspects in
this case, Remilio Kemper and Rawin Badloe, were both sentenced to
three years and six months imprisonment and received additional
fines of 100,000 SRD (approximately U.S. $36,000) each. Four others
(Ghansjaam Mohan, Ashwien Karaya, Vishnoekoemar Binasrie, and
Rasjinderkoemar Ramsamoedj) were sentenced to nine months and
additional fines of 50,000 SRD (approximately U.S. $18,000).
Marciano Symor (not considered by the judge to be part of the
criminal ring, but characterized as a facilitator) was sentenced
to five months imprisonment. Furthermore, the judge ordered that all
defendants repay the government for the stolen funds.

--------------------------------------------- --
Context and Comment: How Strong of a Deterrent?
--------------------------------------------- --

3. (SBU) COMMENT. This is the third corruption case since the
current cabinet took office in 2005. The first case, which involved
20 suspects at the Ministry of Public Works including then-Minister
Dewanand Balesar, has been ongoing since 2005. The second case,
also from 2005, resulted in the convictions of the Deputy Director
and two civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal
Husbandry, and Fisheries. At the conclusion of this third case, the
media reported many in the courtroom expressed dismay at the lenient
sentences. Meanwhile, anti-corruption legislation is still being
debated by Suriname's parliament, accompanied by rumors that
parliamentarians would prefer that it not pass because they fear
prosecution themselves (ref B). Post finds these rumors credible,
and will continue to follow the unfolding saga of small-scale
official corruption in Suriname. END COMMENT

SCHREIBER HUGHES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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