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18 November 2008

Fretilin says Gusmao government spent $104.6 million on rice contracts

Are the Food Security Fund and Economic Stabilisation Fund fattening select businesses or the Maubere people? Subject: Rice Contracts Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 13:22:01 +1100 POLICITAL DECLARATION FRETILIN BENCH

Excellency Mr. President of National Parliament
To all Distinguished Parliamentarians,
To all the Maubere people,

Today the FRETILIN bench wants to present in Parliament (cultural house of the Maubere people) the fundamental question of food security in connection with food to sustain people's lives and budget that has been spent and that is to be spent in 2008.

The Food Security Fund was created as a mechanism that the FRETILIN government created with the intention to not only buy rice but to provide support to farmers to increase their capacities and to ordinary people to gain protection through having sufficient food.

After more than a year, the de facto AMP government has spent millions of dollars on the budget item Food Security Fund with money that has been moved from the Economic Stabilisation Fund with the intention to assist people who have difficulty obtaining food – but perhaps the intention was to fatten up as well some of their colleagues and friends, which included the quick expenditure of the budget that was approved by Parliament in July 2008, in particular the Economic Stablisation Fund.

The food shortage problem, especially rice, has become a big problem in our nation since the de facto AMP government began governing this country – because the question of food shortage has occurred in many districts in Timor-Leste which has made the de facto AMP government buy and sell rice to their own Maubere people.

Mr. President and all parliamentarians,

The question of buying and selling rice to the people has become the principal reason from the de facto AMP government to ask the representatives of the people who sit in parliament to approve a very big budget in the 2008 Ratified Budget.

From the very beginning of the year, the de facto AMP government sold rice to the Maubere people with the very high official price of $17 each sack but the price rose to as high as $40 a sack when sold in the market in some districts. Despite the government using the reason of intervention to normalize the price of rice in the market – this normailsation has instead become an instrument of the government to raise the price of rice which was sold at a price of $12 to $15 in the tome of the FRETILIN government. The FRETILIN bench is concerned with this policy of intervention from the government through the Food Security Fund and the Economic Stabilisation Fund.

Just after the de facto AMP government came into place – the FRETILIN bench registered that the previous FRETILIN government had total of 17,582.57 tonnes of rice in storage. The previous government bought this rice at a price of not more than $500USD. The FRETILIN bench is very concerned why rice is being sold at a price of $17 a sack when it was bought for $500USD?

In the General Budget for the Transitional Period 2007 – the government requested total amount of $6,880,000USD for the Food Security Fund and this item was not spent, as reported in the 31 March 2008 final report of Execution of the Transitional Budget 2007, which was carried over to the total amount of $5,799,986USD.

But the food security item was increased in the 2008 General Budget to the amount of $5,352,000USD before the budget was ratified. The budget from the Food Security Fund is always increasing and then the parliament approved again the budget item of $11,867,000 but in reality the de facto AMP government has spent, since the budget of the transitional period, a total of $24,546,986USD.

The FRETILIN bench wants to know the total amount of money spent on food security, how many tonnes were bought and how many tonnes were sold? What was the contract process of the de facto AMP government and how did they carry it out? Was the Tender Regime applied or not? And why is the price of government rice so high?

We are concerned that perhaps the government contracts for buying rice were awarded by raising hands as occurred in the contract to Três Amigos, the company of which the director was formerly the director of finance and administration in the Office of the President when the current de facto Prime Minister was President of the Republic.

Parliamentarians,
The FRETILIN bench sees that the policy of buying rice from the AMP government has become an instrument to spend the people's money quickly and without any control. In the month of October just after the approval of the 2008 ratified budget the FRETILIN bench registered that the government has already made contracts to buy rice with 7 companies, with money taken out of the Economic Stabilisation Fund. The companies that have been awarded contracts to buy rice are as follows:

1. Sebajaya; 1,615,000
2. Atramor; 1,848,640
3. Belun Feto; 3,842,500
4. Tres Amigos; 3,843,500
5. Star King; 3,842,000
6. Maubara Fitun Naroman; 3,843,000
7. United Food; 3,842,500

The total amount of money spent from the Economic Stabilisation Fund to the companies listed totals 22,676,140 USD.

The FRETILIN bench has also noted that through the contracts that the de facto AMP government has awarded to the above named companies the government has also allocated money from the Economic Stabilisation Fund to a total of $57,371,750UDSD to buy rice, which brings the total amount of $80,047,890USD was spent to buy rice utlilising money from the Fund.

Parliamentarians,

The de facto AMP government, which has only recently come into power, has spent total of $104,594,876USD to buy rice. The amount of money that the government is spending to buy rice from the utilizing money from the Food Security Fund and Economic Stabilisation Fund deeply concerns the FRETILIN bench.

The fundamental questions that the representatives of the Uma Fukun (Parliament) have are as follows:

1. Was the people's money that was spent was to buy rice provided to those who really needed it?

2. The policy of the Food Security Fund and the Economic Stabilisation Fund is for the benefit of the company Tres Amigos and the Prime Minister or for the poor? The FRETILIN bench notes that the director of Tres Amigos Mr. Germano da Silva, previously the director of Administration and Finance in the Office of the President, received a contract worth $17,842,500USD

3. The expenditures were made applying the Juridical Regime for Tender or not?

4. Finally, FRETILIN bench would like to ask for copies of all the contracts that the de facto AMP government has made with companies to buy rice and how much of the rice has been sold to Maubere people and how much is to be sold?

Mr. President of National Parliament,

Distinguished parliamentarians, all Maubere people,

In conclusion, the FRETILIN bench's political declaration sees that the policy of the AMP government is to fatten their business friends rather than their people who have to buy rice at a high price. The FRETILIN bench sitting in today's plenary will hold a parliamentary enquiry to the de facto AMP government according to the RDTL Constitution, articles 95, no. 3 and 101, no. 2 and articles 14h, 139 and 140 of the National Parliament Regiment, to discuss the extremely relevant question of national interests and material discussion of the subject of Food Security Fund and Economic Stabilisation Fund to buy rice for the Maubere people.

Dili, 11 November 2008

In the name of the FRETILIN bench

Parliamentarian Arsenio Bano

----------------------

Note Rice Contract after 11 November 2008.


1. Serbajaya; 1,615,000
2. Atramor; 1,848,640
3. Belun Feto 3,842,500
4. Tres Amigos; 3,843,500
5. Star King; 3,843,000
6. Maubara Fitun Naroman; 3,843,000
7. United Food; 3,842,500
8. Jubilex; 3,516,000
9. Monteveado; 3,516,000
10. Prima Food; 3,516,000
11. Ran Aitana; 3,516,000
12. Suai Indah; 3,516,000
13. Hercio International; 3,516,000
14. Veteran General; 3,516,000
15. Olifante; 3,516,000
16. Taci 3,516,000
17. Lunarsol; 3,516,000

There for, The total amount of money spent from the Economic Stabilisation Fund to the companies listed totals 57, 838, 3900 USD.

The FRETILIN bench has also noted that through the contracts that the de facto AMP government has awarded to the above named companies the government has also allocated money from the Economic Stabilisation Fund to a total of $22,209,390 to buy rice, which brings the total amount of $80,047,890USD was spent to buy rice utlilising money from the Fund.


Image: Fretilin Member of Parliament, Arsenio Bano

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