Public hearings of the commission of inquiry into fraud policy started 11:01 in Politics The inquiry is a follow-up to two previous investigations, into the benefits affair and into the functioning of implementing organisations.

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Dulce Goncalves for the Committee of Inquiry
NOS NewsAmended

In the House of Representatives, the parliamentary committee of inquiry into fraud policy and services has started the public hearings. Dulce Goncalves-Tavares and the couple Gerda and Jurgen Deceuninck were interrogated first, all three victims in the benefits affair.

The research is mainly about the way in which the government combats fraud and why the services to citizens have fallen short. The role of the House of Representatives in this is also under scrutiny. The survey is a follow-up to two previous surveys; one to the benefits affair and one to the functioning of implementing organisations.

125,000 euros back

Goncalves told how her life was turned upside down by the benefits affair and how she was wrongly identified as a fraudster. It started when she received a letter from the tax authorities stating that she had to repay 125,000 euros. At the first letter she thought it was only 125 euros, but later the amount even increased to 200,000 euros.

She emphasized that as a single working mother who brought her three children to the shelter, she complied with the rules.

Fitting on fitting

According to Goncalves, the Tax and Customs Administration initially had no understanding of her situation and did not receive any response to requests for explanation. “It was just payment. You are a fraud. They were not friendly.”

Goncalves explained to the commission that her income was “garnished”. Sometimes she only had 250 euros a month left to support her family. Only much later did she receive an apology from the tax authorities. She was then told that not she, but the childcare organization had committed fraud, that she had been “linked” to it and that the money recovered would be refunded.

Children out of the house

The Deceuninck couple had to deal with repayments to the tax authorities, both individually and jointly. They also complained about the lack of communication with the service. According to Gerda Deceuninck, it was only later that she was suspected of fraud; once she had given up half an hour too much on childcare and compensated that elsewhere by half an hour.

In their case, children were also removed from their homes. Gerda said: “How are you going to compensate for the fact that the government has had our children for nine years? You are no longer going to compensate for that.”

Her husband added: “It’s just a continuous domino game. If one bailiff is still busy, the other is already ready.”

The public hearings of the commission will last until 5 October.

  • Mark Rutte heard next week by the Commission of Inquiry on Fraud Policy
  • Hearings of the Commission of Inquiry on Fraud will begin in September
  • Politics

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