Opposition MPs want answers over Bulgarian benefit fraud

Opposition MPs are demanding junior finance minister Frans Weekers answer more questions about fraudulent claims for housing and healthcare benefits, according to media reports on Thursday.

Weekers told MPs on Tuesday he was not aware a gang of Bulgarians was cashing in on housing and healthcare benefits in Rotterdam without living in the Netherlands, but department officials have accused him of lying.

Weekers said he only heard of the case when confronted by investigative television reporters last week and had not been updated by his civil servants.

National issue

However, documents in the hands of RTL news show the fraud is much more widespread than thought, occurs all over the country and was known to officials. Other nationalities are also involved, RTL said.

The documents, from the first half of 2012, show the tax office and social affairs ministry inspectors were aware of the fraud.

In answer to police questions the inspectors said: ‘The fraud and abuse is not confined to Rotterdam, but takes place in other Dutch cities as well. This has been confirmed by the tax office and the social affairs ministry inspectors.’

MPs from across the political spectrum have called for a debate this evening with Weekers to establish how widespread the problem is.

Earlier stories
Bulgarian gangs are defrauding Dutch benefit system: police probe