The investigative report on the disappearance of an important memo in the Benefits Affair has been watered down and adjusted in the final phase after comments from officials. reported that Fidelity and RTL News Monday evening based on statements from anonymous sources. Among other things, an incriminating passage about the role of former director-general of the Tax Authorities Jaap Uijlenbroek would have been deleted from the draft version of the report on the Palmen memo prepared by the accountancy firm PwC. The final report was published last Friday.
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The PwC researchers were tasked with finding out how the Palms memo could disappear. In this, Sandra Palmen, a top lawyer at the Tax Authorities, already advised in 2017 that discontinuation of childcare allowances was “reproachable” and unlawful, and that parents should be compensated. The memo would Fidelity and RTL Nieuws in 2017 and 2019 were discussed, but subsequently not archived. PwC concluded that there would be “no clear explanation” for the disappearance of the note and thus no evidence of a cover-up.
According to Fidelity and RTL Nieuws, the statements obtained point to the contrary. For example, a deleted passage would be about the fact that in 2019 Uijlenbroek instructed his employees to find out what had happened to the Palmen memo since 2017. This while Uijlenbroek during his interrogation under oath by the Parliamentary Interrogation Committee Child Care Allowance (POK) still claimed to have known “in no way” about the memo until the end of 2020. The memo is also said to have been discussed with Secretary-General Manon Leijten and then State Secretary Menno Snel on 4 June 2019, while PwC only states that the memo “wasn’t on the table” a day later.
On Sunday, a majority of the parties in the House of Representatives asked the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance to send the draft version of the PwC report, and other versions thereof. In doing so, she asks outgoing State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen, responsible for the benefits file, for a timeline of who was able to view the documents and when and which changes have been made to the draft version(s). The MPs thereby demanded that the documents be submitted before 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning to be sent.