Kralendijk, The Bottom, Saba, Oranjestad, St. Eustatius – The Social Affairs and Employment Department (SZW) in the Caribbean Netherlands is investigating misuse of the support related to the corona crisis, given to companies. In seven cases provisionally, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) BES proceeds to criminal prosecution. The cases relate to both the “SZW Emergency Regulation” and the “EZK Compensation” and occur on all three islands. The first sessions are expected to take place in May 2021.
The SZW Emergency Regulation and EZK Compensation were introduced at the beginning of the corona crisis to support entrepreneurs in the Caribbean Netherlands in their wage costs and fixed costs. About 700 companies make use of the emergency regulations, which are implemented by the SZW-unit of RCN.
If there are signs of incorrect use of the regulations, the SZW-unit of RCN will contact the applicant. If it turns out that the amount paid out is too high, in many cases this is settled or reclaimed in good consultation. If incorrect information is deliberately provided or information is omitted, criminal law is applied. For example, in cases where employers receive support for wage costs and do not pay the amounts out to their employees, or receive support for employees who are no longer employed by them. The Public Prosecutor’s Office BES also intervenes in cases where turnover figures have been reported that are far too high. For the time being, no settlements will be offered.
It was clear from the beginning that there was a risk of misuse of the regulations. The corona support is provided on the basis of information provided by the applicant, who signs for having provided it truthfully. This method was chosen at the time to so that the affected companies receive the support as quickly as possible. It requires honesty from the applicant. Companies must submit a change form when their situation changes compared to the time of their application and report if they suspect that they have wrongly received compensation.
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