ETLJB 21 January 2009 SYDNEY The East Timor Finance Minister, Ms Emilia Pires, has strenuously denied a report in The Australian that more than $13 million of government funds has gone missing. In a letter to The Australian, Ms Pires demanded a published correction to the story.
"There has never been $13.3 million dollars lost from government accounts, nor has there been an urgent search for government funds" wrote Ms Pires. 'There has never been any documented exchange between myself or the Ministry of Finance to the Prime Minster that stated or inferred corrupt government officials had misappropriated government funds".
The concerns of Transparency International on corruption in East Timor were based entirely on the record of the previous Fretilin government, according to Ms Pires.
The Ministry has, however, implemented strict controls over the use of bank accounts involving government funds. According to the laws of East Timor, all public moneys must be deposited in official bank accounts registered with the Ministry of Finance.
Read the full original text of the East Timor Finance Minister's letter to The Australian at East Timor Law Journal (.pdf)