Court steps up investigation into Wallonia Parliament finances

Court steps up investigation into Wallonia Parliament finances
Credit: Belga / Bruno Fahy

Investigators from the Federal Judicial police of Namur have officially been appointed to investigate irregularities in the finances of the Walloon Parliament, Le Soir reports. Investigators will look into the finances and its former clerk in relation to inflated construction costs at the House of Parliamentarians, a suspicious digitisation project, and a massively over-budget tunnel.

The Namur courts are officially ramping up their investigation into financial abuse at the public institution. Investigators may even carry out searches at the offices of the parliament. According to Le Soir, the investigation into wrongdoing at the parliament has expanded further, with authorities now looking into “possible abuse of corporate assets.”

The case is currently overseen by Judge Loan Burton. The investigation is also being supported by the Central Office for the Suppression of Corruption (OCRC).

Climate of terror

Alongside the investigation into corruption, much of which circles around former clerk Frédéric Janssens, the clerk is the subject of thirteen complaints relating to harassment. The labour auditor is conducting its own investigations in Janssens and has now heard all the complaints levelled against the official.

The Court of Auditors is also in the process of sifting through documents relating to the management of major projects initiated by the management of the parliament. It is expected to publish its preliminary findings in May, the final version of which will likely be ready in June.

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The court aims to provide an independent analysis of the inflated costs at various projects at the parliament, now more than €36 million over budget. In an interview with RTL Info, the parliamentary opposition leader described the financial mismanagement as “totally incomprehensible”, levelling the blame at the former clerk.

Renovation work at the House of Parliamentarians is now around four times greater than initially expected, and the cost of a tunnel linking an underground carpark to the parliament building has increased threefold.

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