Curacao’s former minister Constancia to start 20 months in prison on Tuesday

July 31, 2023  –WILLEMSTAD – Jacintha Constancia, the former Minister of Public Health, must report to the SDKK prison tomorrow to serve a sentence of twenty months in connection with the face mask case at the Bureau Ziektekostenverzekering (BZV), the Health Insurance Bureau. Her former partner, Anbertus Scoop, must also report, as he received the same sentence. Both have appealed, but the verdict in the appeal case was upheld. 

The court initially handed down a 21-month prison sentence, but it was reduced by one month due to the duration of the proceedings at the Supreme Court. This brings the final sentence to twenty months of imprisonment for Constancia and twenty months for her ex-partner Scoop. 

Constancia and her partner Scoop were found guilty of fraud related to the Bureau Ziektenkostenvoorzieningen BZV (Health Insurance Bureau). BZV is a government institution that fell under Constancia’s responsibility when she was Minister of Public Health. 

They registered a company with a Chinese name at the Chamber of Commerce and created a quote as an invoice for the supply of face masks to BZV. The amount on the invoice was excessively high, but due to the former minister’s involvement, BZV accepted the quote and paid the invoice. 

In this case, BZV did not follow the normal procedure and paid a lump sum to the Chinese company. A friend of Scoop was listed as the head of the Chinese company. After receiving the money, Scoop withdrew all the funds. The face masks never arrived in Curacao. 

Struggle 

Constancia previously stated that it is no secret that she has been involved in a legal struggle for over nine years to prove her innocence. 

The former minister herself believes that she did not embezzle any money, is not guilty of fraud or money laundering, yet she is still being held accountable for complications. That is the only point, nothing else. Jacinta has not harmed anyone, according to Constancia. 

Speaking to the media, she said that she has received five sentences. “I have to pay a seizure of 365,000 guilders that others have received from the SVB (Social Insurance Bank) and spent. Also, my image as a woman, human being, and politician has been damaged.” 

“Furthermore, I have to serve my sentence, and I will do that, but people call me a thief and criminal. My rights as a human being and a woman are violated,” said the ex-minister. 

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