Governance & Integrity

Oil Trading Bonaire Director Overpays Self by 388,000 USD

In some years, the director paid himself over 4 times the fee approved by the shareholder.

Kralendijk – The director of Oil Trading Bonaire (OTB), S. Balentien, who was appointed by the Island Government, overpaid himself by more than $ 388,000 more in the period between 2014 and 2018.

This is becomes clear from an audit report from chartered accountant Ruud de Dood, from the audit firm Audit Force in Curaçao. The accounting of the public company was audited at the request of the director who was appointed by the shareholder to succeed Balentien.

Balentien was appointed in 2005 as CEO of OTB by the Executive Council under the leadership of Island Governor Herbert Domacassé in 2005.

Balentien initially performed the position as natural person, while this was later converted into an agreement with a Balentien’s company, Balfran N.V. The position of Balentien/Balfran N.V. was later changed to that of Director of Finance.

Where initially a fee of $ 2,960 per month (at the time 5,000 Antillean guilders) or $ 35,530 per year, Balentien overpaid himself by respectively $35,000 (2014), $69,000 (2015), 87,000 (2016), 125,000 (2017) and $10,000 dollars in the year 2018.

According to the accountant who carried out the investigation, he could not find any signed documents that explained why Balentien suddenly paid himself considerably more from 2014 onwards. However, Balentien claimed that the payments were intended as an ‘advance’ on a modified management agreement and promised fee increase.

It appears that the payment of the substantial additional amounts only came to an end when the shareholder appointed another director in the person of Rene Lauffeur in early 2018.

The generous payments to Balentien and Balfran N.V. are not the only imperfections that are surprising. OTB did not keep its own bookkeeping, but had the financial statements compiled by Caribbean Accounting Services, a subsidiary of accountancy organization PwC. However, the organization failed to provide income tax returns for the period between 2004 and 2009, resulting in substantial fines for OTB.

Financial Statements not audited after 2009

Up to and including 2009, the annual accounts of OTB have been audited by PwC,. The annual accounts for 2015, 2016 and 2017 were presented in November 2018, but they only have a statement of ‘compilation’ ‘from PwC’s successor, Grant Thornton. This means the figures have not been audited for correctness

According to the articles of incorporation of OTB, annual accounts must be examined by a chartered accountant, which appears not to have been done in a consistent way, with all resulting consequences.

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