Minister Weerwind in error with official car during mayoralty

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Minister Franc Weerwind on arrival at the Binnenhof for the weekly Council of Ministers

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Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind abused his official car during his time as mayor of Almere. He used the car with driver for private trips, something that is not allowed according to municipal rules.

The misuse of the official car was reported tonight by Ank Bijleveld, who has been deputy mayor of Almere since Weerwind left for the national political office. She spoke to the city council about the Integrity annual report of the Mayor and Aldermen. It says that “a driver” had gone wrong, but who it was about was not mentioned. Bijleveld indicated that it was Weerwind, writes Omroep Flevoland.

Weerwind regrets misuse of official car

In a statement on his LinkedIn page Weerwind (D66) writes that he was not aware of any harm. “I have always periodically submitted overviews to the municipality of the use of the official car for private journeys or for transport to additional functions. I have always assumed that I acted within the applicable regulations,” he writes.

“I deeply regret that it now appears that this was not the case. Now that this has become clear, I am of course fully prepared to cooperate in rectifying this omission.”

Number of trips and kms unknown

The annual report shows that the unauthorized journeys took place for at least five years, from 2017 to 2021. The official car was not only used for private journeys, but also for journeys to work that Weerwind carried out for other organisations. Also in this case, for so-called non-official ancillary positions, the official car may not be used. Weerwind was active for the Fietsersbond and Stichting Het Forgeten Kind, among others.

How many unauthorized private rides Weerwind has made has not been disclosed. According to acting mayor Bijleveld, this is in any case more than 500 kilometers per year. The Tax and Customs Administration uses this number as the limit above which private use must be reported. The Tax and Customs Administration is now looking at “an appropriate tax solution”, says Bijleveld.

There may have been private rides before 2017, but those years have not been investigated by the municipality. Weerwind became mayor of Almere in September 2015.

‘Control was also not good’

It is striking that the irregularities were only discovered by the municipality last year. Bijleveld says he regrets that this has not happened sooner. She thought it should have. “Some things were not allowed. But the control was not good either.”

According to the acting mayor, the control mechanism has now been tightened. However, Bijleveld points out that it was initially Weerwind’s responsibility to know that private rides were not allowed.

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