Junior finance minister fights for political future over benefit fraud

Junior finance minister Frans Weekers is fighting for his political life on Tuesday as more claims are made about how much he knew about fraud involving healthcare and housing benefits.

Weekers will face questioning by MPs in the late afternoon and a vote of no confidence is on the cards, RTL news reports.

The broadcaster on Monday evening reported that Weekers had again withheld from parliament ‘important information’ about how widespread the fraud is.

Widespread

Three weeks ago, RTL revealed that police are investigating widespread fraud involving claims for housing and other benefits by Bulgarian gangs in Rotterdam.

The confidential investigation showed gangs are sending foreign nationals to Rotterdam to write non-existing people into council registers and then claim housing and healthcare benefits on their behalf.

Weekers said the claims would be investigated thoroughly and the loopholes closed. But civil servants within the finance ministry told reporters the problems with fraudulent claims had been known for some time and that Weekers had ignored them.

RTL commentator Frits Wester said Weekers’ future lies in the hands of his own party, the VVD, and he must convince them he reacted properly when news of the fraud broke.

Earlier stories
Opposition MPs want answers over Bulgarian benefit fraud
Bulgarian gangs are defrauding special benefit system: RTL
Minister pledges action as special benefit fraud may reach €80m