Centric board consists only of ‘confidential’ Gerard Sanderink: ‘Politics must intervene’

Unrest again at one of Gerard Sanderink’s companies. Three directors of the ICT company Centric resign. Experts are concerned about the stability of the company because many governments rely on Centric for their software.

The three CEOs of Centric have resigned after a conflict with Sanderink. He would have used his company to avoid having to pay coercive fines to his ex Brigitte van Egten.

Quarrel between Sanderink and ex-girlfriend

The company has been rumbling for some time. But in April last year, the now resigned CEO Johan Taams told FD that the quarrel between Sanderink and his ex-girlfriend Brigitte van Egten was a private matter. However, according to investigative journalist Angelique Kunst, it turned out a week later that Centric was involved in that altercation.

Centric seized the money that Sanderink had to pay his ex-girlfriend in coercive fines so that this money could not go away. “This was really not an idea about Centric itself, but an idea about Sanderink. And then it turned out that Sanderink was using his company for a private altercation. And that’s not justified,” says Kunst.

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To the Chamber of Commerce

“CEO Taams and his board colleagues received a lot of applause from the judge in a lawsuit about this,” she continues. “The judge ruled that they abused the law. Then you’re just in the shirt as a director of a large company.”

According to Art, the board members wanted to prevent events from recurring. “Then the directors would go to the Chamber of Commerce to put Sanderink on the sidelines. But that was prevented by other board members. Then the three directors decided to resign.”

Protection of confidential Sanderink

According to Kunst, the administrators who prevented a corridor to Entrepreneurs’ Chambers are all Sanderink’s confidants. “They protect him from such actions. Sanderink’s worst nightmare is that he no longer has anything to say about his businesses.”

Despite Sanderink disregarding several court rulings, he appears to still be sitting firmly in the harness internally.

Confidential data

Entrepreneurs are, of course, free to organize their business as they wish. But in Centric’s case, it’s more sensitive.

The company provides digital services and stores the confidential data for almost all Dutch people. Among other things, Centric provides software to government institutions, explains investigative journalist Angelique Kunst.

The municipalities have difficulty changing

So cause for concern. Centric recently lost important customers such as DNB and Sociale Verzekerings Bank. But according to Kunst, many municipalities can make the switch to other ICT providers less easy. “Besides Centric, there is only one other party that offers comparable ICT services. Then you are at the mercy of the provider who can ask what he wants.”

“And we all know that public IT projects sometimes cause trouble,” says Kunst. “So a switch to another vendor does not always go smoothly.”

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Pieter Omtzigt calls for intervention

According to Kunst, members of parliament are also concerned about this matter. “In fact, Pieter Omtzigt asked parliamentary questions again an hour ago.” The independent MP wants the Attorney General of the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam to investigate the abuses at Centric.

According to Kunst, the court is likely to intervene by opening an investigation. “The directors have been stopped by the other directors. But the court’s attorney general can also independently decide to investigate a company.”

Appoint an independent director

“The Advocate General can start an investigation and, pending that investigation, appoint a director who does not have to worry about Sanderink,” says Kunst. “It’s a very realistic option, because there are not many other options,” she continues.

In her opinion, these measures would come a little late. “I am surprised that politicians have not intervened before. This kind of abuse by such a sensitive company for the Dutch infrastructure, it is really not possible.”

In the broadcast of EenVandaag, investigative journalist and author Angelique Kunst talks about the board of Centric and the role of Gerard Sanderink

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