Albayrak criticises predecessor Verdonk
27 September 2007
THE HAGUE State secretary for justice Nebahat Albayrak voiced criticism on Wednesday of Rita Verdonk, her predecessor on the asylum dossier.
Under Verdonk's charge fewer aliens left shelters than had been promised. As a result Albayrak has been saddled with millions in extra costs in order to implement the amnesty arrangement for “old” asylum seekers.
This emerged during parliamentary consultation about the amnesty, which 25,000 to 30,000 asylum seekers are expected to claim. The factions of CDA and VVD said they were concerned about the many millions of euro that the justice ministry is setting aside to implement the measure.
Especially the mounting costs of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) are cause for concern. It will receive EUR 124 million this year and EUR 138 million next year for the amnesty scheme.
“These are costs that were not caused by me,” the state secretary said. “This is the legacy left by the former minister on this dossier.”
At Verdonk's departure there were more aliens in reception centres than previously thought or budgeted for.
Albayrak was unable to grant a request from Parliament for a complete overview of the costs of the amnesty.
“I cannot give insight into those amounts.” The same applies for the savings the amnesty will reportedly produce, for instance as a result of the lower workload for the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and the COA in future.
D66 faction leader Alexander Pechtold was annoyed at the focus on the costs. “I find that a bit tasteless.”
The costs are secondary to the ethnical and moral consequences of the amnesty,” Pechtold argued. He got support from the Labour PvdA and green-left GroenLinks.
It has been agreed that the costs of the amnesty will be looked into in an examination of the justice ministry's budget which will be discussed later this year.
The liberal VVD wants the Audit Chamber to review the costs.