Sunday, 12 October 2008
SMS texts evidence: Minister for Justice Gives Herself And Friends Projects
According to copies of SMS texts acquired by this newspaper, it is evident that SMSs were exchanged between the Minister for Justice and businessmen, in which there were many discussions regarding projects to construct a new fence for the Becora prison, projects were solicited, contacts with international businessmen regarding the acquisition of uniforms for prison officers and other such things.
On the 7th of August 2008, at 12:25:04, before the AMP Government had reached its first anniversary the Minister for Justice received an SMS from her friend JS, containing the following, "Sister, I have just finalized the plans for the project items and I see that the price I informed you of today is enough because this fence is 10 meters high and very thick without using blocks but only cement fill (cement, rock and double layer of steel) International quality. The works are the same as for the USA embassy fence only that theirs is only 3 meters high and not very thick." According to the list of SMSs sent out at 12:30:10 on the same day, the Minister for Justice promised "Good, I will look at it later."
Officially it was only on 25 August 2008 that the Ministry of Finance began to advertise the public tender invitation for the project to construct a new fence for the Becora prison, Project ITB No. RDTL-08-081860101-ITB-812664. "Procurement Services, Ministry of Finance RDTL invites closed bids from those who are eligible to undertake the construction of the new fence for the Becora Prison, in Dili," described the advertisement in the national newspapers.
On that same morning the Minister for Justice asked for financial help from this businessman. "Good morning J, in fact...for sure I will phone Her to come and get it from me. Sorry for disturbing you constantly. Thanks," the Minister sent the message to the businessman who won this tender at 11:25:34 hours.
Happily JS, who is the director of the company Marabia Pty Ltd, according to the announcement made by Procurement services on the 2nd of October 2008 was the successful bidder of this project valued at $1,035,333.33, did not leave the minister's words to fall and be lost into the sea between Indonesia and TL. "Good morning sister, tell them they can come and get it, no problem, there is no need to give it back to Herlambang, it will remain between us," Mr. JS sent this SMS from his Indonesian mobile phone number to the Minister for Justice. "Good evening sister, the kids have still not come to pick up this package."
Christian Samson, the director of LABEH, from whom an SMS is also registered in the Minister for Justice's mobile phone says that there has been no change in the incidence of corruption, collusion and nepotism despite PM Xanana strongly avowing to fight against it. "This is an indication of collusion and nepotism because the project was still at an internal stage as
it had not divulged publicly so a Minister cannot be engaged in SMS communication with businessmen discussing details regarding a project", Samson said. He explained that, "when there is already an SMS between the Minister and a businessman before the tender being tendered has been officially released to the public then there is favoratism." When this
newspaper tried to confirm the SMSs with Mr. Jorge Serrano, director of the company Marabia he asked that his right not to make comment be respected. On the 7th of August 2008 an SMS was sent from the number 723 0079, during office hours seeking to steal away a project from the Minister. This mobile phone number used by a person who holds a high position in the government wrote, "Good morning sister, help me with some project will you. Thanks."
That afternoon the office of the PM addressed a message to the Minister for Justice, informing her of a signing ceremony for an agreement at the government palace. "Good evening Excellencies, tomorrow Friday 8 August, Mr. PM will be signing an agreement with UNDAF with Finn Reske-Nielsen. Mr. PM asks all of you to attend this signing ceremony, which will begin at 14h30 until 15h30 in the meeting room, PM's Office, Pal Gov. Please dress formally. Thanking you, GPM," this SMS was received in the inbox of the Minister of Justice's mobile phone from the PMs office. On the 9th of May 2008 an SMS was sent from the Minister's husbands' number
737 4XXX to inform her of the mobile phone number of an international businessman who was visiting Dili. "Roger no. 740 2071," read the SMS. On the previous day this newspaper was able to pay a surprise visit to Mr. Roger Fairbairn at the Hotel Esplanada in Dili, an Australian businessman who has been operating a firm in Indonesia, and who on the 14th of July 2008 sent a message to the Minister saying, "Hi, sorry about the noise, at airport for a flight through to Jkt in 10 minutes. Just to say hello and any news Project? Regards."
The CEO of PT Media Citra International was very confident of winning the Demography Project Contract with the Ministry of Justice worth millions of dollars to digitize the identity card, a project that had once been tendered but was later cancelled because of questions raised about the tender process.
On the same day an SMS was sent by an Indonesian businessman with links to Roger to explain about the price of uniforms. "Boss, I have already spoken with Mr. Americo and I have already given the details needed with the price for 70 pairs; 1) uniform 70 x 200.000.. 14 million 2. Belt 70 x 70.000 . 4.9 million 3. Shoe PDL 70 x 250.000, 250 million 5. Name 70 x 22.000 .. 1,540
million . total 43,190 million. Mr. Americo said that tomorrow morning he will send the money to my BCA, so we can start to order and purchase these things, so by Saturday afternoon it will be ready. Thanks," this SMS was written in Indonesian.
On Friday 10 October this newspaper contacted the number +62 1808311XXX which was answered by a Mr. Irma who confirmed that at the time the Minister for Justice herself personally sent specimens, measurements and color for the uniforms to them. " At the time, Madam..Madam Minister, aahhh..Ms. Lucia, aaahhh..gave details to us. Gave us the details. Regarding the things that were hers, yes sir. Eeehhh..complete with their attributes. So with the
name and other attributes. Like..Sir.like the names, measurements for the clothing, the shoe sizes. At the time Sir, Lucia did this," explained Irma to this newspaper by mobile phone conversation. He said that regarding payment, the Minister paid half of the price before the order was made. According to the commitment and payment form which this newspaper has been able to access, it shows that MBF Lobato had already authorized payment on the 10th of March this year but did not specify that the amount of US$97,500 was committed for manufacturing of uniforms for Timor-Leste prison guards. The decentralized procurement did not stipulate to which company the money had been paid.
The company that assisted with the manufacturing of the uniforms for the prison guards, had links to Roger Fairbairn who tried to win the Demography Project worth millions of dollars, an who also tried to borrow money from the Minister for Justice and her husband to register his company in Timor-Leste as his staff member named Awie wrote in an SMS on the 9th of May
2008. "Madam. Mr. Americo, firstly I apologized , currently Roger does not have any money in Timor-Leste, maybe Sir can help today and I will pay Sir back", Awie sent an SMS the Minister. On the same day Awie also included an SMS which Roger had sent to ask for money to carry out his activities in Dili. "This is an SMS from Roger: Awie, I need US$1,000 to complete the
registration of the company and other administration costs today 1) the translation of the documents 2) pay the government 3) open a bank account. Roger," Awie copied Roger's SMS in English to Minister Lobato. On the 9th of May 2008 Awie through his mobile phone number +628179991XXX thanked the Minister, "Thank you very much to madam..very sorry for having to inconvenience madam. Awie."
The acquisition process for the TL prison guards uniforms began as early as 9 March this year. On the day before the month of March the Minister for Justice received an SMS which contained information for a bank account number. "Madam this is my BCA no. 2551122XXX in the name of IMANSYAH BUDIANTO," he informed.
On the 14th of March 2008 the minister received from the same number an SMS stating, "Good morning Madam: 1. Price for tailor made pants and shirt RP200,000, - for set tickets coming soon fro 2 people to measure excluding accommodation and meals. 2. Price for hat and bordir: RP20. I ask for confirmation of RDTL LOGO or Badge 3. Belt with RDTL Logo or Badge RP40,000, - 4. Beret I am still checking, Madam these prices all are to arrival in Surabaya, I ask you make correction to prices because I have no experience regarding these prices above."
Accordingly at 428 o'clock in the afternoon the minister answered to +628180311XXX, "Ready. Total price 430 rb. Per person including ticket. Accommodation for 2 excluded. Shoe two examples, 170 rb. Which one are you referring to?" the Minister sent this SMS to the company seeking clarification.
The most recent information regarding these uniforms emerged in an SMS which the minister received on 24 June 2008 which began with a greeting, " Good morning Madam." It followed up, "I ask permission to report on the price of the uniforms and their attributed which together are 123 pairs with the rest from the money which is with Mr. Awi; 1) Uniforms 19,065,000. 2) Copper belt 4,182,000 3) belt KCL 1,783,500, 4)Shoe PDL 17,835,000, 5) Beret 7,011,000,
Total 52,582,500, the remainder to be paid 119,407,138, Madam has already paid $1000 (9,200,000) grand total which I ask you to pay 162,789,638, rate 9200/USD..17,695 Madam I ask permission to inform that the Minister's four jackets are ready now. Thanks," Irma said in his SMS which was also received in the Minister for Justice's mobile phone.
According to information the Ministry of Justice has already distributed 198 uniforms to prison guards in Becora Prison and 38 to the Gleno Prison where each person received two sets each. Despite this, according to sources from the Ministry of Justice, to date the Ministry of Finance does not know which company was awarded the tender.
The Minister for Justice, who is one of the AMP government's most powerfulmembers, is also one who has been accused most often of being involved in corruption, collusion and nepotism. As a member of the 4th Constitutional government the Minister for Justice Lucia B. Lobato has a husband who is a businessman, with whom she has been unable to keep away from allegations of corruption, collusion and nepotism for giving projects to her husband and her friends. On Friday this newspaper obtained information showing that the Minister's husband had contact with a certain businessman. On the 9th of August the Minister attended the office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights to answer allegations regarding the rehabilitation of the Gleno Prison and
Becora Prison, after which the Minister told journalists that she wanted "the investigation finished quickly, I ask the Ombudsman to investigate those they feel are important in the investigation, to hear them, compile the evidence in the case, and after the investigation has been completed make a full report to the prosecutorial services if they find indications of
corruption and to make their findings public." She also said that she was not scared of facing a court to answer any allegations without hiding behind her immunity.
The AMP government is thinking of and wants to fight KKN, which is why the council of ministers has approved a law creating an anti corruption commission that will report directly to parliament, with strong powers to combat corruption pursuant to the demands of the people. This intention by PM Xanana Gusmao was reinforced during his speech at the opening of the
National Parliament's second legislative session on 9 October when he promised that, "We are not scared of acting, to move to clean up and punish acts of corruption."
"We will not just talk yet again because with empty words we cannot move this country forward." "The government has taken the initiative of presenting a proposed law that will effectively fight corruption in a totally impartial and independent way and which you will all be able to see very soon, "Xanana promised to the representatives of the people in the Timor-Leste's sacred house. The fourth constitutional government asked "We have to decide whether we want to just keep accusing and defaming one another to win some kind of political advantage and do nothing good for the people, or do we really want to create the tools which will be effective in wiping out corruption?"