Misconduct allegations surface against Belgium's intelligence committee

Misconduct allegations surface against Belgium's intelligence committee
Serge Lipszyc, Chairman of Belgium’s Committee I which oversees intelligence services. © Belga

Allegations of misconduct have surfaced against Chairman Serge Lipszyc of Committee I, which oversees the Belgian intelligence services.

Lipszyc is being accused of misconduct by two other councillors – who also have complaints against them – and the three of them are being given a few weeks by the accompanying parliamentary committee to show that they can still work together, reports De Standaard.

Councillors Pieter-Alexander De Brock and Thibaut Vandamme accuse the chairman of fostering a culture of abuse, calling him a 'cavalier seul' (in English a 'lone wolf' or 'loose cannon') who constantly engages with the press and organises expensive dinners with the top people from the intelligence services he is supposed to monitor.

Expensive dinners and conflicts of interest

In January 2020, for example, Lipszyc organised a dinner at the Alexandre restaurant in Brussels for seven people, including the heads of State Security and the military intelligence service ADIV, as well as De Brock and Vandamme. The bill of €3,028 was paid by Committee I.

Last year, the same four gentlemen were invited to Villa Lorraine to celebrate Lipszyc's three-year tenure, racking up a bill of €1,595. De Brock and Vandamme claimed afterwards that they were there “against their will.”

Complaints from other employees

A separate investigation into the health situation on the shop floor concluded that the discord at the top of Committee I led to “psychosocial suffering for everyone in the organisation.”

Employees spoke of a culture of abuse and a climate of fear and distrust. The chairman was accused of being overly direct, while the two levelling accusations against him were said to “owe their jobs only to politicians” and to be incapable of making decisions.

The accompanying parliamentary committee will pass judgment on the trio next week, with voices in various parties calling for all three of them to be fired.

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