05 November 2008

Increasing corruption detrimental to Timor-Leste's selection for the Millennium Challenge

Media Release 15 October 2008

Increasing corruption detrimental to Timor-Leste's selection for the Millennium Challenge Account

"The increasing levels of corruption in the de facto government of Prime Minister Jose Alexandre Gusmao is proving detrimental to Timor-Leste's prospects for obtaining funding from the Millenium Challenge Account," said Aniceto Guterres, the leader of the
parliamentary bench of Timor-Leste's largest party FRETILIN.

Guterres' comments were made following the release of a report by the Centre for Global Development "Which countries make the FY2009 corruption cut? A preview into round 6 of Millennium Challenge Account Country Selection" (see: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/205642/).

The report analyses the prospects of several countries seeking to be eligible for selection for the Millenium Challenge Account (MCA), a development fund managed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US government corporation.

The report states on page 4 that "Timor-Leste fails the corruption hurdle for the second year in a row, falling from the 43rd percentile to the 39th percentile."

To be eligible for selection for the MCA a country must score above the 50th percentile.

Guterres said, "The release of this report is yet more evidence of the increasing levels of corruption and maladministration under the Gusmao government which is having a negative effect on Timor-Leste's international reputation and its ability to access development funding
from the MCC.

"Under the FRETILIN government in 2005-6, Timor-Leste had become eligible for the MCA, and was working on the submission of a large infrastructure funding package to the MCC. The MCC had deemed that though Timor-Leste had many development challenges that it was on the
right track to good governance and a corruption free environment.

"However this good work is being undone by the incompetence and corruption of the Gusmao government. Mr. Gusmao himself has to take responsibility for this huge backward step for Timor-Leste. It happened during his governance and he cannot blame anyone else for

The release of the report by the Centre for Global Development follows the release of Transparency International's 2008 international Perceived Corruption Index report (see

The index showed Timor-Leste under the leadership of Gusmao's 'Parliamentary Majority Alliance' (AMP) de facto government registered the most significant deterioration of any country.

Timor-Leste's position fell 22 places from 123rd to 145th. This was the nation's second successive year of decline in the index, following a drop from 112th to 123rd place in the corresponding period for 2006-2007 when Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta was Pri me Minister.

For more information, please contact Jose Teixeira +670 728 7080.

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