THE HAGUE - Queen's Commissioner, Leemhuis-Stout, leaves after the controversial Ceteco affair. CDA deputy Heijkoop is also stepping down. The resignation comes a few hours before the debate in the Provincial Council on the investigation report of the Van Dijk Committee. The number of politicians who left after the affair is now at four.

According to Leemhuis-Stout, she had the decision to step down already taken a few weeks ago. “The future of South Holland would not be mine future ”, she had determined. Still, she wanted the results of the Waiting for the Van Dijk committee about the Ceteco affair, representing the province cost tens of millions.

Earlier this week, the investigation committee headed of former miner Van Dijk concluded that the provincial government was "inadequate and have made an extremely risky decision to start banking ". That decision had been made without the Provincial Council having had anything to say about it. With that it was "undemocratic and illegal", said the commission.

According to the committee, Leemhuis was the only one who voted against it banking decision, but did not intervene afterwards.

Immediately after publication of the report, Leemhuis-Stout went hardly comment on the committee's firm conclusions. "Next Wednesday (today, red.) I will discuss the conclusions in the debate ”, she said. There is so did not come.

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The decision to invest with money that is not used was established by the province from October 1995. One of the investments was in the South American trading house Ceteco. When that company went bankrupt, used to be an amount of 47,5 million guilders away.

That news came up 7 July out through the AD. How high the amount was, was not clear at the time, but it was already spoken then over tens of millions.

The man who came under attack first was financial officer Karel Baarspul. He was responsible for it cash management.

He had dozens of investments in the years before made millions for the province, according to their own words. There was the province so happy, that he had received multiple salary increases. Until so it went wrong.

At the beginning of last month, Baaspul was suspended for two loans had concealed. He soon announced that many more people were aware were of the loans. In fact, around 200 officials held one protest march in support of Baarspul.

Political responsibility

In the days after the revelation, it became clear that Baarspul had not acted alone and that the political top was not alone on the height, but had also taken the decision to start banking.

Deputy Arie de Jong was the first political victim. He insisted that very little was going on, that others like him also had not pointed out any mistakes and went on vacation, a few days after it leakage of the news. An interview with Omroep West killed him:

Last week, the Van Dijk Commission of Inquiry was firmly over the events in the provincial house in The Hague. One day after the presentation Jaap Wolf also joined the report (PvdA) off as commissioner. “The stairs have to completely clean, from the top down", he told.

So this morning a third commissioner was added: Jan Heijkoop. He said "to be ashamed of the events".


Several conversations have taken place in recent days between Minister Peper of the Interior and Leemhuis-Stout about the resulting situation in South Holland.

"I've seen her struggle", Peper informed NRC Handelsblad. If Leemhuis-Stout had decided to stay on, then Pepper had nevertheless insisted on a departure, he continued.

There are two against Leemhuis-Stout declarations made. An investigation is also underway against Baarspul.

Hoe ging het verder?

Within a few months, Minister Peper makes clear all government agencies that investing with tax money was out of the question.

The political career of Leemhuis-Stout was for the time being ready, throughout the Ceteco affair. Yet she returned in several places board positions, such as the Council for Transport, Public Works and Water Management and the Council of TNO supervision. Later she was even knighted, which not everyone agrees with once was.

In 2011 Leemhuis-Stout returned to politics, as acting mayor of Schiedam. That was not entirely flawless. She immediately came under fire for being friends with her predecessor, Wilma Verver (who had to because of alleged abuse of power leave). Her son also held a high position at the municipality of Schiedam.

Eventually Leemhuis-Stout was allowed to stay in Schiedam. She had no relationship with her predecessor and her son had already been transferred to Dordrecht, before she started work in Schiedam.

Later Leemhuis-Stout became acting mayor Leidschendam-Voorburg and acting Supervisory Director in Friesland.

More victims

Not only the Province of South Holland was the victim of the downfall of Ceteco. Also the ING Bank, BasF and the Dairy Product Board went on the ship for millions. Bankruptcy would be the parties involved still up to 2012 occupy. The court ruled that major shareholder Hagemeyer 190 million guilders to the trustees.

Some directors even became personally liable kept. The Supervisory Board was kept informed of this on a monthly basis the problems at Ceteco.  

A clear summary of Omroep West of the whole affair:

Rijnmond's radio contribution 2014, fifteen years after the Ceteco affair:

Arie de Jong, the deputy who stepped down first after a remarkable interview. Looked back at the case a year after the events. You can find his account here


De Volkskrant - 01-10-1999 – The protagonists of the ceteco affair

De Volkskrant - 02-10-1999 – Commission van Dijk

NRC Handelsblad - 06-10-1999 – Leemhuis is stepping down as supervisory director

Wedding - 08 februari 2008 – Hagemeyer has to pay in Ceteco affair

De Volkskrant - 14-09-2011 – Leembuis remains acting mayor of Schiedam

RTV Rijnmond - Forgotten Stories (2015) – Province loses millions in Ceteco Affaire

RTV Rijnmond - Day of Then (2014) – Ceteco-Business (1999)

Wikipedia – Ceteco-business

Wikipedia – Joan Leemhuis-Stout

Author: Dave Datema

published: 05-10-2019

story number: 139

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