Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Dutch Foreign Minister to demand Herfkens repay rebates

Published: Tuesday 27 May 2008 21:07 UTC Last updated: Tuesday 27 May 2008 21:07 UTC

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen says he will try to make former minister for development cooperation Eveline Herfkens repay the 280,000 euros she received from the Dutch government.

The money was for the cost of her New York apartment and for her removal expenses when she moved to Maryland.In 2002 Ms Herfkens moved to New York when she received a senior position at the United Nations Development Programme. The Dutch government paid her housing costs for a number of years, which violated UN rules. However, a UN report has absolved Ms Herfkens of willful wrongdoing. It says she was never informed she was breaking the rules by either the Dutch government or the UN.

However, Minister Verhagen says that when she was hired she signed a contract which contained all rules and regulations. He says this makes her responsible and hence she should repay her housing rebates. Ms Verhagen says the rebates may have been in violation of UN rules, but they were in accordance with Dutch law. She says: "Many people received rebates; I was not the only one."

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