Former Suriname Vice President Ashwin Adhin arrested

PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) — Former Vice President Ashwin Adhin has been arrested in an investigation into the alleged destruction of equipment in the vice presidential office after his party lost power in the May elections, President Chandrikapersad Santokhi said Monday.

Santokhi said in Parliament that Adhin, who is a legislator, had been detained and questioned. “Based on that interrogation and the statements of others, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has deemed it necessary to detain him as a suspect,” the president said.

He gave no specifics. But Parliament member Reshma Mangre of the president’s Progressive Reform Party has said that people in the vice president’s office destroyed expensive media equipment. She said three people were arrested.

Santokhi’s party won the May 25 elections over the National Democratic Party led by then President Desiré Delano Bouterse.

After the new administration took office in July, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has intensified investigations into possible crimes by politicians and officials of the previous government. Former Finance Minister Gillmore Hoefdraad is the subject of a fraud investigation and is thought to have fled the country.

Bouterse’s party reacted furiously to Adhin’s arrest. A party statement said arresting a member of Parliament who has been a critic of the current government “is a serious violation of democracy and also of the right of members of the National Assembly.”

Suriname has major economic problems due to the huge amount of loans that the Bouterse government took on over the past decade. The current government is unable to pay the interest on a number of loans and is looking for support from the International Monetary Fund and others.

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