Sunday, 28 June 2009

Internet Edition Exclusif: Prime Minister Signs Contract with Husband of Minister of Justice.

Prime Minister Signs Contract with Husband of Minister of Justice.

According to the below contract for Supply of High Speed Diesal Fuel for EDTL, which is dated 19 September 2007 but not signed until one year later on 19 September 2008, the Supplier Pualaka Petroleo has to supply fuel to the Government power utility EDTL from 1 October 2008 until 31 March 2009.

This contract was signed by the Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao on behalf of the Government of Timor-Leste and by Americo “Pualaka: Lopes, Executive Director of Pualaka Petroleo with a 30% share of the company.

Mr. Lopes is the husband of Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato, a leading member of the PSD party, and a key political ally of the Prime Minister in the AMP Coalition Government. They share a personal connection as Prime Minister Xanana is the godfather of Lopes and Lobato’s son.

According to the below invoice dated 3 April 2009, from Mr. Lopes to the Director of Procurement in the Ministry of Finance, Pualaka Petroleo billed the Government $1,473,360.00 for 1,754,000 litres of diesel fuel provided during the contract period.

It is not yet clear what the law states on this matter, however there are questions raised by these documents.

According to the Worldbanks’ website regarding its Planning and Financial Management Capacity Building Programme (PFMCBP) in the Ministry of Finance it states that

“The Planning and Financial Management Capacity Building Program Project seeks a sustainable strengthened planning, that includes budgeting, public expenditure management, and revenue administration for growth and poverty reduction, with emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, integrity, and service culture, and, transparency.”

This project costs $37 million over 5 years. Is it improving accountability, integrity, and transparency?

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