According to Arco de Kruijff, the suspect’s lawyer, Hans G. is guilty of socially undesirable behaviour, but is not liable for punishment. ‘Nepotism – favouring family members over others – is not included in the legislation’, according to defence counsel De Kruijff.
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) suspects Hans G. of corruption of public servants. According to the investigation by the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigative Service, he had been taking money and resources from maintenance companies in exchange for work at the university. He is suspected of giving his son and former daughter-in-law fake employment at installation companies without them actually doing anything in return.
According to De Kruijff, his client’s actions were not always ethical, but corruption of public servants is out of the question. Legally speaking, corruption of public servants only takes place when the gift, favour, or promise directly benefits the public servant, he claims. ‘But in this case, the favour was to his son and former daughter-in-law.’
Moreover, the lawyer feels that Hans G. should not be considered the mastermind behind the fraud. ‘He merely joined in on something that was already going on. He just did what his predecessors, who were already working with the installation companies, were doing. He did not create his own empire. That empire was already in place. A system of very little oversight already existed.’
Last week, the main suspect himself indicated that he received a car and a fuel card from one of the business owners he was friends with. The business owners would then charge the RUG for the costs. He also acknowledged that he and a handyman made money from the trade of building materials that the university had unwittingly paid for.
However, according to his lawyer, there is insufficient proof that all costs were billed to the RUG. Defence counsel also claimed that the damage incurred by the university was not adequately proven. ‘The calculations are completely unfounded. It’s just a stab in the dark’, he told the judges.
According to De Kruijff, his client is a ‘classical pleaser’. Hans G. was trying to compensate for the lack of attention during his childhood by taking charge and helping others. ’People have been taking advantage of him. His strength has become a weakness.’ De Kruijff says it is a tragedy that G.’s son and wife now have to explain themselves to the judge.
De Kruiff: ‘He is a self-made man, working his way up from welder to head of the department.’ The defence counsel argues that his client grew up in the world of construction, where wheeling and dealing is the norm. Nothing in that world comes for free. ‘He was given a job (editor’s note: head of the technical services department in 2006) which basically proved fatal to him.’ He says G. should have retired a little bit earlier. Then he, just like ‘the others’ would have gotten away from it and no one would have bothered with the case.
The court will deliver its judgement on the case on 17 May.