Mark Mingo to file multi-million dollar claim against Govt, Prosecutor's Office

Mark Mingo to file multi-million dollar  claim against Govt, Prosecutor's Office

Lawyer Cor Merx and his assistant (left) with Mark Mingo (center) on Friday, after the announcement of the multi-million dollar claim for damages in the Emerald case

PHILIPSBURG—Seven prosecutors in the Emerald investigation into fraud in Port St. Maarten have crossed the line at the expense of former Port CEO Mark Mingo. This is alleged by the Cor Merx legal team. On Friday, Merx announced that his firm is preparing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit on behalf of Mingo.

   Both the Prosecutor's Office and Government St. Maarten, shareholder of Port St. Maarten Group of Companies, will be held liable for loss of employment, material and financial losses, as well as the reputational damage that Mingo has suffered since he was arrested on June 7, 2017 on suspicion of fraud. After five years of legal battles, Mingo was fully acquitted on appeal in June of this year.

  Everyone in the community thinks that Mingo was “the big fish” that the prosecution was looking for in connection with malversations in the harbour, Merx said. “But Mingo was not even mentioned when the investigations in the harbour started. Only after a year of investigating, Mingo became a side catch. The prosecutor then requested the appeals Court to suspend Mingo for the duration of the investigation.” According to Merx, the Court honoured the request to suspend Mingo without him being given the opportunity to defend himself. The Court has failed Mingo, the lawyer alleged.

After the convictions of the three defendants in First Instance – CEO Mark Mingo, consultant O'Neill Arrindell and politician Frans Richardson – the Public Prosecutor felt that more research was needed in the port, Merx said.  "The Public Prosecutor submitted a request to the Court for this, but the judges refused that follow-up investigation. "

  The conviction of Mingo was overturned on appeal. However, his co-defendants saw their unconditional prison sentences confirmed. "It may be clear that there is more going on in the port, and that the investigation initiated by the Public Prosecutor must be carried out. The Public Prosecutor has therefore appealed in cassation to the Supreme Court in the Netherlands," the lawyer explained.

  Extremely important for Mingo is, said Merx, that “the documents in cassation show that the public prosecutor acknowledges that Mingo was made a victim in this case, and that the bad guys in the harbour are Theo Heyliger and Ton van Kooten. That is on pages 22 and 23 of the cassation pleading. It is stated in writing that not Mingo, but other people are the rotting apples in the basket of the harbour."

  Mingo lost not only his employment of many years – he was appointed CEO of the Port in 2002 - but also his private home, which was seized by the prosecutor, and later sold by the prosecutor below market value.  "I lost at least a million dollar in assets, which I had worked very hard for to acquire,” said Mingo, who indicated that he is pro settlement. "I prefer to settle out of Court. I want to be able to close this chapter and move on with my life."

The Daily Herald

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