Jean-Claude Marcourt and Frédéric Janssens behind him, 28 April 2021 at the Walloon Parliament, in Namur ©BelgaImage
One year ago, in November 2021, the President of the Walloon Parliament Jean-Claude Marcourt (PS) visited Dubai with his official Frédéric Janssens (MR). An official mission for two that’s causing a lot of ink to flow today. In question: the huge costs for this trip of several days, as enumerated in surveys by Le Soir and RTBF. Business class travel, luxury hotel, local guide escort, etc. Which gives the impression that sobriety was not on the agenda. But beyond that, certain elements raise real fundamental questions about the way public money is managed during this type of travel.
€19,000 for two in four days… at least!
This stay in Dubai, scheduled for November 11-15, was actually not planned for two people, but for six. But as the date approaches, everyone gives up. All but two: Jean-Claude Marcourt and his clerk. The Bureau of the Parliament justifies this retention with several arguments. They are particularly linked to the desire to cover topics related to regional skills, especially as a “special Wallonia-Brussels week” was organized in Dubai at the time.
A flight to the United Arab Emirates already seems problematic. The two tickets were taken in business class without the “duly justified deviation” necessary to avoid tickets appearing for taking tickets in economy class. The counter therefore already increases to 4,266 euros round trip per person. To this must be added the reservation of the VIP lounge for the trip, i.e. 125€ without VAT. On site, they are accommodated in luxurious rooms at the prestigious “W Dubai – The Palm” hotel. That amounts to €542 per night and person, or a total of €4,333. Add to that a local guide hired for four days, charged €3,446. All these costs were confirmed by RTBF.
To read: House of parliamentarians of Namur: the price of the works has exploded
All in all, Le Soir believes that this little trip to the tropics”around €19,000“, specifying that other expenses may have passed under the newspaper’s radar. In the first budget approved for the original trip of six, it was €1,100 per person for four days of meals.
A very expensive employee
This trip is already controversial, but the case does not stop there. This Thursday, RTBF revealed that the officials’ problematic expenses far exceeded this single visit to Dubai. Frdéric Janssens also flew Business Class to other destinations such as Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, etc., always at exorbitant prices. Meals, luxury hotels and tourist guides are lined up here too. Add to that his double company car, his refueling journey home (in the south) and work-related expenses (including “a tunnel dug to keep people from crossing”, notes RTBF). Meanwhile, these missions take him around the world. In short, the official would not be a model of sobriety, neither economic nor environmental.
An elected official interviewed by RTBF (who wishes to remain anonymous) explains that she thought of quitting politics when she discovered this affair, one who thought the ghost of Publifin was a thing of the past. “I have to say, Mrs. Y is starting to cry“, notes public television, which specifies that he feels helpless, becauseshe knows that the next campaign will probably be marked by a wave of mistrust and anti-politicism“. Last September, Frédéric Janssens was suspended without pay. He was accused of potential acts of moral harassment, not to mention his investigation into the management of public contracts by the Walloon Parliament. He is now the subject of a ‘procedure .