Roemer lets the integrity issue of Ger Koopmans rest

Violation of the code of conduct of the province of Limburg by former deputy Ger Koopmans (CDA) is a done deal for governor Emile Roemer. As a director, Koopmans was involved in awarding millions of euros in assignments, subsidies and loans to companies and foundations of his former love partner.

In a letter to Koopmans’ ex-partner, the Heerlen architect Erol Öztan, Roemer (SP) now writes that there are “no more obstacles” for the province to do business with Öztan companies again.

An inventory of the province showed last year that Koopmans, as a member of the Provincial Executive, had prepared the decision-making process for contracts, subsidies and loans and had participated in the votes in the Council of the Provincial Executive. That was contrary to the code of conduct that requires a director not to vote on “any matter that directly or indirectly concerns him personally”.

Acting governor Johan Remkes then, after questions from NRC and after studying the transactions, referred the matter to the Visser committee, which investigated Limburg’s administrative culture. The report of that committee states that ‘no person-oriented research’ has been carried out in this matter. The committee also saw no reason to conduct such an investigation. The Committee did not provide a substantive assessment of Koopmans’ conduct.

‘Case closed’

Roemer now writes in his letter to the ex-partner that the committee saw “no reason” for a further investigation. “As far as we are concerned, this is the end of this matter.” He could not comment on Friday. His spokesperson says that the governor will look at written questions from NRC next week “with all due care”. Among other things, it revolves around the question of what the relevant passage in the code of conduct still means. Will the phrase that a director does not participate in a vote that concerns him or her disappear? Or will Limburg administrators be allowed to judge applications from their (former) partners from now on?

Öztan says he is happy with Roemer’s letter: “This issue has had a major impact on me, both professionally and privately. I want from there. Apparently, despite the code of conduct, there is no reason for further investigation. So it’s done.”

Also read: How an ex-deputy with the help of the CDA in Limburg channeled subsidy money to his own BVs

IKL affair

Koopmans resigned last year after a publication in NRC about the landscape foundation IKL and its director Herman Vrehen (former CDA deputy). As a result of that affair, all other deputies and commissioner of the king Theo Bovens also left. Before he stepped down, Koopmans was also discredited because of the combination of his role as a commissioner and supervisory director at a dredging company. In that case, a committee of inquiry ruled that there was no conflict of interest but ‘the appearance of a conflict of interest’.