26 May 2009

More parties call on Timor's Finance Minister to explain contracts scandal

FRENTE REVOLUCIONARIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE FRETILIN MEDIA RELEASE Dili, Tuesday 26 May 2009 More parties call on Finance Minister to explain contracts scandal

Two more political parties have joined FRETILIN in calling on Timor-Leste's Finance Minister Emilia Pires to attend parliament to answer allegations that that she misused World Bank and donor-country funds to employ under-qualified friends of dual Australian/Timor-Leste nationality as highly-paid international advisors.

Members of the National Unity Party, and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's own coalition partner, the Democratic Party, in parliament yesterday called on Ms Pires to answer questions about the controversial World Bank 'Public Finance Management Capacity Building Project' (PFMCBP). These calls were repeated today.

FRETILIN has been seeking details and documents from the government regarding the hiring of international advisors under the PMFCB Project as well as government advisors hired on exorbitant salaries using Timor-Leste's own funds.

FRETILIN vice president and MP Arsenio Bano said today in parliament documents now in the public domain showed that World Bank and donor-country funds were misused to employ the minister's friends who failed to meet education qualifications and other criteria set out in the terms of reference prepared by her own office.

“She apparently chose to ignore the published employment criteria agreed with the World Bank, so as to ensure her friends got jobs paying exorbitant salaries,” Bano said.

“Documents show the Minister signed contracts for a long-time Timorese-Australian friend to take up a job on an annual salary of US$216,000. The education criteria stated: ‘Education: A university degree in public relations, journalism, advertising, business communications or in any other related fields.’ Minister Pires knew this person held no such qualifications.

“She signed a second contract with another friend, a laboratory technician, for a total remuneration package of over US$11,000 per month, stating that she had 'A bachelor's or Master's degree in business administration, accounting, finance, real estate, public administration or liberal arts and relevant diploma and or certification' when she knew she had no such qualification.”

Arsenio Bano repeated FRETILIN's calls last week for an independent audit of the PFMCB Project.

He said that since media disclosure of the Finance Ministry contract scandal, other international aid personnel had privately come forward with information about mismanagement and misconduct of other World Bank–funded projects in the ministries of Health and Education.

“External audits by an independent entity should extend to all World Bank–funded projects, not only in the hiring of advisors but also in procurement,” Bano said.

For information phone Arsenio Bano on +670 741 950
Image added by ETLJB: The gigantic statue of Jesus in Dili, East Timor. This Indonesian integration-period monument was built at the expense of men's lives and a special tax imposed on the residents of the then 27th province of Indonesia. It symbolised the illegal integration of East Timor through the outstretched arms of Jesus which welcomed those coming from the west; namely; the Javanese imperialists of Indonesia who, between 1975 and 1999, perpetrated one of the bloodiest genocides of the 20th century. Ten years after the liberation of the Timorese homeland, the Indonesian criminals who masterminded countless human rights violations that left hundreds of thousands of East Timorese dead, maimed, psychologically injured or in profound poverty and dislocation, are yet to be justly tried under international criminal law.


Anonymous said...

I agree with the call of parliement on the Minister of Finance to answer questions related to the KKN in this minister. Employing unqualified people as international advisor and lab technician is a clear evidence of KKN. It is therefore must be questioned and investigated.

Anonymous said...

I think this will hard to proceed as these fellows are close to the current immune and power holders in the country. Anyway, nothing bad that you trying and pushing forward the case. hopefully it will sort out soon but I am thinking this will go on for at least some several years as Coalition Government remains in power.