“Government officials did not act properly when buying Groningen land”

"Government officials did not act properly when buying Groningen land"

Various government agencies and Groningen seaports did not act properly regarding the purchase of land before the arrival of a large Google data center in Emshavn in Groningen. That is the conclusion of a research panel led by Groningen professor of regional management Marcel Bogers in a report published this afternoon.

The report concludes that “in connection with a number of land deals, choices have been made that are inconsistent or not in line with the requirements of democratic governance, oversight and oversight.”

The Boogers Committee was formed after an investigation by news hour About the land trade in Emshavn. This research reconstructed the course of events surrounding the arrival of the tech giant Google, as port company Groningen Seaports (GSP) bought and sold the land.

The investigation revealed, among other things, that unauthorized purchase agreements and contracts had been entered into and that a farmer had been misled and deceived. The rights to the windmill were also given to a family business out of the public domain. At a press conference this afternoon, Boogers said, “An image emerged of the board being given, or taken, a lot of room to make deals. The board was also given that space because governments struggled with their oversight role.”

Watch the video from Nieuwsuur about the mysterious multi-million dollar deals here:

GSP used to be a government agency, but was separated in 2013. According to the commission, inexperience with large-scale land handling contributed to the situation. For example, “Not much has been done to clearly professionalize the business of land deals.” This has ensured “inadequate use of the existing set of tools, for example to combat land speculation”.

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The privatization of the GSP had serious consequences in the matter of land purchase, as can be concluded from the report: “The uncertainty about roles and responsibilities after port privatization meant that the regulation of trade discount was not always a good balance with the guarantee of democratic control” .

The committee criticizes the absence of government oversight and the tension between public and commercial interests. It notes that “it is not sufficiently clear who is responsible for protecting the public interest and who oversees business decisions.” In addition, there is no “mechanism to monitor and control the sound”.

The Committee recommends that the administrative structure of the GSP should be made clear and simple. The political management of the development of the Delfzijl and Eemshaven ports must also be strengthened. The Boogers report will be discussed in Groningen County Council. MP IJzebrand Rijzebol (CDA) agrees with RTV Noord that the structure in the GSP should be “simpler and clearer”: “There must be better and clearer democratic accountability, while the speed of operation of Groningen seaports must continue. This is a challenge.”

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