A high-ranking NPO employee, who reported violations within the public broadcasting service to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, was dismissed by a senior official from the same ministry. The BNR podcast reveals this with Mark Coster and Ton F Van Dyck, who have had conversations with the whistleblower. Representatives Harry van der Mullen (CDA) and Zuhair Al Yasini (VVD) demanded clarification.
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The whistleblower had confidential conversations with Morgan Hammersma in the summer of 2020. She is the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and is thus the highest official in the ministry, responsible for allocating the nonprofit’s budget. The whistleblower wanted, in his own words, to address the “violations” of bidders’ salary ceilings, which had been mysteriously circumvented.
At the time of the conversation, Hammersma was also in a “close relationship” with Chula Rigsman, who was then the NPO’s chairwoman. The whistleblower was not aware of the connection between the two. Impressive detail, Rijxman was sworn in as an alderman in Amsterdam on Wednesday night, on behalf of the D66.
In a statement, the whistleblower told BNR: “In July 2020 I had a conversation with Marjan Hammersma in her office. This talk was arranged by deputies Al Yasini and Van der Mullen. They promised me absolute confidentiality: I would be treated like a whistleblower. So far, there has been no follow-up to the conversation.
In that conversation, he told the whistleblower, the editors’ known name, the big one responsible for abuse with exorbitant salaries at public broadcasters. After that Mrs. Hammersma said she would discuss a few things with Minister Slope and return to me. So far I haven’t heard anything more than that. I now understand that the Secretary-General maintains a special relationship with the then Chairman of the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization, whose violations I have observed may have occurred in part under his responsibility. Had I known about the special relationship, I would never have had the conversation.
It has been known for some time that Hammersma and Rijsmann are good friends. Earlier, Follow the Money revealed that there is a close relationship between the General Secretary and the Chairman of the Board of Directors. The podcast by journalists Ton F. van Dijk and Mark Koster shows that this friendship is so close that Hammersma and Rijxman booked a hotel together in Dokkum in August 2021. Hammersma sent Rijxman a message from her private account after making the reservation. A copy of the reservation is in the hands of the editors. They are looking forward to our arrival… and I can’t wait for Saturday! xx ‘says Hammersma’s letter to Rijxman.
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Follow the money previously asked questions about the relationship. Hammersma responded that her ‘working relationship’ with Rigsmann ended in 2016, after she was appointed general secretary. Prior to that, Hammersma worked with the NPO as Director of Information in the Ministry. But information from the whistleblower now shows that the NPO was discussed again in 2020 as well as the role of her dear friend.
The matter surprised MPs Harry van der Mullen and Zuhair Al-Yasini. They were media spokespersons for their group in 2020, and were the basis of the conversation between the whistleblower and Hammersma. The whistleblower reported the irregularities to MPs, who later reported to then-Minister Ari Slopp. Slob then referred the person to Hammersma. The Secretary-General did not mention in the conversation that she had a close relationship with the critic Rigsmann. The two MPs want to clarify the relationship, and that the whistleblower heard nothing again.
Morgan Hammersma did not respond to requests for appeal, and said today through her spokesperson that she “does not want to comment.”
About Coaster and Van Dyck
Coaster and Van Dyck It is BNR’s new media podcast, and a new edition is published online every Thursday. Coster and Van Dyck are presented by Wendy Bennacker. It was Tun F. Van Dyck has been Director of Public Broadcasting for over fifteen years, prior to that he worked as an investigative journalist and editor-in-chief. Mark Koster writes for NRC and FTM, among others, and has published books on the De Mol family, television entrepreneur Peter Gillies, and relationship broker Pier Ebbinge.