It has been almost a year since the former Member of the Open VLD Sihame El Kaouakibi no longer set foot in the Flemish Parliament. She has been on official sick leave since October last year and therefore does not have to attend sessions to be entitled to her full salary, around 5,000 euros per month, numerous media reports from the north of the country reported on Thursday.
That sick leave expired on August 31, but was recently extended until the end of November, according to the Office of Speaker of Parliament Liesbeth Homans. Enough to raise many in the Flemish political ranks but also within the population.
Parliament calls for a doctor’s check
Sihame El Kaouakibi was implicated last year in possible grant fraud with her dance project “Let’s Go Urban” and other nonprofits. The Open Vld then started the procedure of exclusion from the party, after which the MP herself decided to return her party card. Since April she has been an independent member of the Flemish Parliament.
This episode would have marked the member who is going through a difficult period mentally, after the turmoil and the judicial investigation to which she is the subject. This would explain the length of his sick leave.
The Enlarged Office of the Flemish Parliament has asked a law firm to examine whether it can send a check-up doctor to check for possible abuses, Belga reports. If the abuse were so proven, part of his salary could possibly be withheld. The cabinet’s opinion is expected at the end of September.