Serious questions raised about approved auditor’s statement of the Public Entity Bonaire

KRALENDIJK- Question marks have arisen in the island council of the Public Entity of Bonaire (OLB) regarding the approved auditor’s statement issued by auditing firm Astrium for the 2022 annual financial statements.

The question marks mainly stem from the unauthorized allocation of nearly seven million dollars to a so-called seniority arrangement. The amount was never approved by the island council, not even during various budget amendments that were passed by the council.

Inquiries made by the island council to the auditing firm resulted in a memo over the weekend, which ABC Online Media has seen, but many things remain unclear. “If it appears that the actual expenses as shown in the financial statements exceed the estimated amounts, including the latest budget amendment, there may be unauthorized expenditures in terms of budget overruns. The overrun may be in violation of the budgetary authority of the island council as regulated in the WolBES and FinBES Laws,” writes Astrium Government Accountants in an unsigned memo dated July 9, 2023.

Atrium also writes about the seniority arrangement: “This decision wrongly assumes that the expenses of the seniority arrangement (spread out) will be charged to the fiscal years 2022-2027 (payment moment of monthly compensation).

The decision takes into account the coverage of (part of) the costs from the regular 2022 budget ($600,000) (and the multi-year budget 2023-2025 ($750,000 per year)). It also assumes a (limited) cost-saving.

Budgetary Irregularity

Astrium then states that the firm has concluded that there is indeed a budgetary irregularity, but that this did not necessarily result in withholding an approval of the auditor’s statement. “For the final judgment, it is important to what extent the budget overrun fits within the policy formulated by the island council and/or is compensated by higher income related to the expenses. Determining whether and to what extent budget overruns are blameworthy is reserved for the island council when approving the annual financial statements.”


Opposition leader Clark Abraham is very critical of the situation that has arisen and also the fact that Astrium did not attach any consequences to the budget overrun. “I can only conclude that nearly 7 million has been spent excessively, which was not budgeted beforehand. The argument of Astradius that it could be based on policy formulated by the Island Council misses the mark. The island council was not aware of the agreements made. The former BC and in particular deputy Hennyson Thielman acted unlawfully and spent millions more than originally budgeted. This represents an overrun of a whopping 39% on the respective item. That’s quite significant!”

Abraham also states that the BC had ample opportunity to propose a budget amendment to rectify the situation regarding the seniority arrangement. “But the BC acted unilaterally and withheld important information from the council.”

Other faction leaders within the island council say they were under the impression that the costs of the seniority arrangement would be covered by the Netherlands. However, this assumption turned out to be false.

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