15 November 2009

Fretilin says Gusmao signed multi-million dollar fuel contract to nephew



FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Media Release

Dili, 13 November 2009

Gusmao signed multi-million dollar fuel contract to nephew

FRETILIN MP Inacio Moreira today called for an urgent investigation into the awarding to Nilton Gusmao, a nephew of the Prime Minister, part of the contract to supply fuel for government vehicles, following a tender in 2007. Nilton Gusmao dos Santos is a principal of Esperansa Timor Oan, the company concerned.

According to section 3 of Law 7 of 2007 on Constitutional Officeholders (which was proclaimed into law by President Ramos-Horta on 22 July 2007), Esperansa Timor Oan should not have been allowed to tender for the fuel supply contract, if Nilton Gusmao held 10 per cent or more of the shares, directly or indirectly, in the company.

“We are only able to raise questions about the fuel supply contract because of a report in the local media, whereas the Finance Minister should have upheld the law and avoided the tender proceeding the way it did,” said Mr Moreira.

“FRETILIN wants this tender and contract urgently investigated by the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice. When the new Anti-Corruption Commissioner is appointed, if the investigation is not finalised, it should be handed over to that official to deal with under the new anti-corruption law,” said Mr Moreira.

On May 26, 2008, the Finance Minister Ms Emilia Pires signed a contract with ETO and another company, Aitula Fuels, as a result of the tender process. After a trial period of six months, the contracts were extended for a further four and half years, this time signed by the Prime Minister.

The total contract over four years is worth at least US$8 million, with Esperansa Timor Oan providing fuel for state vehicles in the Districts of Lautem, Baucau, Viqueque, Manatuto, Oecussi and Dili districts, while Aitula Fuels looks after Aileu, Ainaro, Same, Suai, Liquica, Ermera, Maliana
and also Dili District.

The Dili weekly newspaper, Tempo Semanal, reported this case on September 7, 2009, noting that their journalists were denied information on the share holders of ETO from the Directorate of Business Registration of the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry.

“Tempo Semanal focused more on the anomaly that Nilson Gusmao signed a contract written in the name of the principal of the other company, Aitula Fuels, and asked if the Prime Minister saw this signature when he signed. But FRETILIN is much more concerned that ETO was able to both tender and be awarded such a large contract. In the meantime we have heard nothing from the de facto government on this even though details have been made very public months ago,” said Mr Moreira.

For further information please contact Inacio Moreira MP on +670 746 6168 or fretilin.media@gmail.com

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