Socialist social services councillor accused after press leak

The City of Antwerp’s Social Services Council and its Chairman Fons Duchateau (Flemish nationalist) have issued lodged against the Social Services Council member Johan Peeters (socialist). The news first appeared in Monday’s edition of the daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ and has since been confirmed by VRT News sources.

Mr Duchateau believes that Mr Peeters is behind a leak of confidential information to the press in the aftermath of an explosion at a house on the Paardenmarkt in Antwerp in January this year.

It emerged that officials from Antwerp Social Services had visited the house and reported that there were several issue that gave cause for concern. However, the city’s housing inspectorate failed to act on the social services concerns.

Two people died in the explosion that happened at around 9:30 pm on the evening of 15 January. 14 others were injured in the blast. Residents of the house that had been divided up into flats reported having smelled gas in the building in the morning prior to the explosion.

Later it emerged that official from the Social Services had visited the house and drafted a negative report with regards to a number of issues. The house was set to be in a poor state of repair with damp, glass missing from windows and holes in ceilings. However, the city’s Housing inspectorate failed to act on the report. In 2017 the number of inspectors was cut from 12 to 4.

The Mayor of Antwerp Bart De Wever (Flemish nationalist) has confirmed that the report exists, but denies that the residents were in any danger.

"I can bet he case that the building was full of mold. It is not nice, but it is completely different to their being issues with gas or electricity”.

Are the socialists responsible for the leak?

The Chairman of the City of Antwerp’s Social Service’s Council Fons Fons Duchateau has lodged a complaint against social services council member Johan Peeters for "breaching professional confidence”.

“Het Laatste Nieuws” writes that Mr Peeters has already been questioned by police. The Public Prosecutor must now decide whether there is enough evidence to prosecute the socialist.