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Finance minister admits bailiffs had to collect on Justice Palace fine

The Justice Palace - Palais de Justice - in Brussels (Wikimedia Creative Commons)
06:04 11/03/2022

After responding to questions in the Brussels Parliament this week, minister of Finance Sven Gatz admitted that a fine imposed on the capital’s Buildings Agency in 2019 by the Brussels Region had to be collected by a bailiff after a long period of non-payment.

The fine was issued after it was discovered that the Palace of Justice had been without an environmental permit since 2017. The Buildings Agency, the owner of the site and a department of Brussels Environment, was fined for this in 2019, but a year later that fine had still not been paid. According to Mr. Gatz, the debt of approximately €15,000 has since been settled after a collection agency was called in.

"The administrative fine of €14,560 that was imposed in 2019 has now been paid," Gatz said, after being challenged in the house by Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène of the reformist party who has been following the case. With costs associated with calling in the bailiffs, the final bill came to just over €15,000.

"I think that's a very low amount," Coomans de Brachène said. "It is a building of 60,000 square metres. A few thousand euros? That is purely symbolic. How can Brussels Environment command respect after acting in this way?"

Written by Nick Amies