The SP and PvdA in the House want clarification as soon as possible about the tax authorities’ possible concealment of an important memo in the subsidy case. The internal document, written in 2017 by a high-ranking attorney in the benefits department, was lost and accidentally resurfaced in 2020.
According to RTL Nieuws and Trouw, Tax and Customs Administration received indications that the memorandum, which was highly critical of Tax and Customs Administration’s approach, had been intentionally removed at the time. MPs Leijten (SP) and Nijboer (PvdA) are furious and want to receive all documents “immediately” from the Cabinet.
A spokesperson for outgoing Secretary of State Van Hovelen confirmed that “indication” was received that in 2019 Tax and Customs Administration considered not archiving the internal memo, the so-called Palms memo. Moreover, the speaker cannot say much about it, because an investigation is currently underway by accountants from PWC.
“everything in the room”
According to RTL and Trouw, a lower official suggested not archiving the memo. It is not clear to whom the official suggested this. “We are currently unable to establish the official level at which this message was at the time,” a Van Hovelen spokesman said.
MP Lichten wants “all documents and indications that the ministry has intentionally withheld Balmain’s memorandum to come to Parliament”. Then you think a parliamentary lawyer should work on it.
Her colleague Neigbor believes the PWC investigation is “not an authorization” for the Cabinet not to share the documents with the House of Representatives. He wants them “today”.
Inner question marks
“Memo Palms” plays an important role in the investigation of the case. The piece appeared by chance in 2020, following questions from former CDA Representative Omtzigt. It seems that in 2017 internal questions were already raised about the approach of the Department of Taxes and Customs, but nothing was done about it. Attorney Balmain described this approach as illegal at the time and felt the need to compensate the aggrieved parents.
Before the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, then-top tax authorities officials under oath said they only became aware of the memo in 2020. But Trouw and RTL conducted a reconstruction that showed it was discussed on June 4, 2019 during crisis consultations at the ministry, at which the two officials were present.
A personal injury specialist representing the parents of the victims announced Friday that he will file charges against senior officials for perjury. They would lie to the House about what they knew about the Palms memo.
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