Tuesday, 16 March 2010

AECCOP, Alvaro. Something Stinks, but the Worldbank/IFC nose is closed.

 The Timorese private sector is the hope of the country.  The Government of Timor-Leste and the international community consistently state that their programs and policies are designed to empower the Timorese private sector to the point where it can provide for the employment and prosperity of Timor-Leste's rapidly growing population.

However it would appear that the Government of Timor-Leste and the international community are more interested in empowering cronies, and perhaps even crooks, than in assisting the small to medium sized business in Timor-Leste's districts.

The almost $80 million Pakote Referendum initiative was created by the Government of Timor-Leste in August 2009 and implemented by Julio Alvaro the President of the Forum Empresario de Timor-Leste (The Business Forum of Timor-Leste).  Mr. Alvaro was responsible for creating an implementation structure known as AECCOP across the country which decided who would get the projects ranging in size from $20,000 and up.  This structure has awarded hundreds of contracts to hundreds of businesses.  Tempo Semanal will reveal the details of these projects in full in a soon to be released edition, as it has obtained complete records for the Pakote referendum in 11 districts.to companies which is a shareholder or an owner. 

Furthermore, when certifying Pakote Referendum projects he is going to give to himself he does so under his own signature - demonstrating he has political protection.  In the case illustrated in the below photo of a list of pakote referendum projects for power lines to be set up between Laga and Baguia in Baucau Mr. Alvaro certifies his own Company Alvarado to receive a contract with $4.6 million (reported previously on March 8 2010 in Tetun)
Alvaro uses the people's money for himself.

Also, when delivering projects to the Government Mr. Alvaro's company has shown a tendency to over bill.  He has knowledge of procurement requirements, is involved in decisions as to who will win contracts (ie himself) and will then over charge the Government.  In the case of the installation of power lines between Laga and Baguia his firm were awarded the contract for a job that the Secterary of State of Electricity deemed to be a $3 million dollar project - but Mr. Alvaro through AECCOP/Pakote paid his firms $4 million.

The Worldbank and the IFC are involved in something called the Better Business Initiative in Timor-Leste. Its objectives being 

Facilitate dialogue between the government of Timor-Leste and the private sector, which
includes the broadest private sector participation possible, including the districts;
• Assist the Timor-Leste government in developing the private sector;
• Remove the barriers that businesses face with regard to entry and exit;
• Promote consistent enforcement and non-discretionary interpretation of laws and
• Provide feedback on various government policies affecting the private sector;
• Provide feedback on draft government laws and regulations that could affect the private

However, while the Worldbank and IFC have rules about procuring goods and services from firms it deems corrupt and puts them on a blacklist, they seem to have little problem working on governance issues with a Government that may be corrupt, and in this case the leadership of a national business forum which may be corrupt.

Perhaps Julio Alvaro's company Alvarado should be blacklisted.  Although this is unlikely as the Worldbank/IFC require his good graces in order to promote the so-called Better Business Initiative.  As in the case of UNMIT the Worldbank/IFC is more interested in colluding with cronies and crooks than promoting good practices in the interests of common Timorese.

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