THE HAGUE, 30/08/08 - Dutch UN employee Eveline Herfkens does not have to pay back any of the 280,000 dollars that she wrongfully received from the Foreign Ministry. She used this money to rent a luxury flat in Manhattan from 2002 to 2006.
Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen concludes that Herfkens has not acted incorrectly as far as his department is concerned. There are therefore no grounds for demanding the money back, he wrote to the Lower House.
The MPs had insisted that steps be taken to recover the wrongfully paid money from Herfkens. The conservatives (VVD), socialists (SP) and Party for Freedom (PVV) are not satisfied with Verhagen's letter and will demand clarification.
Verhagen has agreed with Herfkens that as a gesture, she will "work for the UN Millennium Goals" for a year for the symbolic sum of 1 dollar. He did not specify what activities this involved, though.
Herfkens, a Labour (PvdA) member, was Develop Cooperation Minister from 1998-2002. She then took up work with the UNDP in New York. Verhagen's ministry paid her 7,000 dollars a month from 2002 to 2006 for the rent of a flat in Manhattan, in addition to her UN salary. This was not permitted by either the UN rules or the ministry rules.