Harassment and threats of aggression in Wallonia parliament, investigation underway

Harassment and threats of aggression in Wallonia parliament, investigation underway
Walloon parliament clerk Frederic Janssens pictured during a plenary session of the Walloon Parliament in Namur, Wednesday 04 May 2022. BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY

An official investigation has now been opened into a harassment complaint lodged against the clerk of the Walloon parliament, Frédéric Janssens, as well as five Wallon deputies, Belgian newspaper Le Soir reports.

Janssens is responsible for the daily running of the Walloon parliament and has authority over all members of staff.

In an audio recording obtained by the newspaper, Janssens can be heard threatening staff with violence, stating “You’ll end up in the morgue by noon.” The complaint has been filed internally, likely by another member of staff at the Walloon parliament.

Also facing charges of harassment are parliamentary President Jean-Claude Marcourt (Socialist Party), Vice-Presidents Jacqueline Galant (Reformist Movement) and Manu Disabato (Ecolo), and secretaries Sophie Pécrials (Socialist Party) and Sybille de Coster-Bauchau (Reformist Movement).

Blowing the budget

The case filed with the labour auditor does not just concern human resources issues. Some claims pertain to the record high spending of deputies and officials. Spending by the parliament has more than doubled the agreed €10 million budget, leading to enhanced scrutiny on the spending of the parliament and individual deputies.

Le Soir notes that deputies have racked up some massive credit card bills. The budget for a shed to store fences and barriers has multiplied 13 times. While on holiday in Costa Rica, Janssens managed to rack up a €25,000 bill for roaming data.

Related News

Other public works have also massively gone over budget. A pedestrian junction in front of the parliament building cost €2.1 million, as opposed to the planned €700,000.

Furthermore, the Central Office for the Repression of Corruption (OCRC) has received several anonymous reports about public contracts agreed by the Walloon Parliament. Namely, the letters state that the parliament had given preferential contracts to certain companies to complete public works.

Statistically, Belgians have little faith in their elected officials. Data shows that over half of Belgians still believe that corruption remained a serious issue. 66% of Belgians state that they believed their national, public or local institutions were corrupt.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.