MARIGOT: Semsamar’s legal turmoil has finally come to an end, as the company has been cleared of suspicions of embezzlement of public funds, illegal interest taking and favoritism in the awarding of public contracts.
Semsamar’s officials gathered the press last Saturday to announce the decision of non-lieu rendered by the financial investigating judge of the judicial court of Paris. Present around the table were Marie-Danielle Hamot – legal manager, Laurent Pinsel – executive director, Yawo Nyuiadzi – president, Marie-Dominique Ramphort – administrator and Chantal Viviers – staff representative. As well as Maitre Sébastien Schapira, lawyer at the Paris Bar representing Semsamar, who recounted the course of this case whose facts date back to 2012 after denunciation by the prosecutor’s office of Basse-Terre and the seizure of the file by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office in 2015.
The legal troubles of the Semsamar marked the beginning of turbulence for the semi-public company. At the beginning of 2013, many dysfunctions were highlighted in the report of the Mission Interministérielles d’Inspection du Logement Social (MIILOS), such as the exorbitant salary of the director at the time, Marie-Paule Bélénus-Romana, reaching more than one million euros in remuneration in 2011 or agreements signed between the Semsamar and former leaders, such as Jean-Paul Fischer.
The two protagonists were then also indicted, leading to a change of management within the social landlord. The twists and turns had caused a lot of ink to flow at the time, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron then visiting in late 2018 had firmly denounced the suspicions of corrupt practices weighing on the Semsamar, already terribly weakened and discredited. The new governance put in place that same year has made it possible to reopen the dialogue with the judges and reinstate a relationship of trust. Semsamar’s defense was aimed at changing the company’s status from that of defendant to that of victim, proving the immense moral and financial damage that the company of 400 employees had suffered. MThis order of dismissal now removes this sword of Damocles that has been in place for several years. And the recognition of Semsamar’s status as a victim will encourage this new start so long awaited by the managers in place. The Semsamar, which is working hard to restore its image, has joined the civil party for the continuation of the trial, which will include three physical persons accused. The names have not been communicated. The financial accounts of Semsamar will be revealed to the public at the end of February 2022.