19 July 2009

East Timor President: 'chance of mistakes' in contracts

Radio Australia News East Timor President: 'chance of mistakes' in contracts - East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta has conceded there's a chance of making mistakes when multimillion dollar contracts are signed by government officials.

Mr Ramos Horta has once again defended Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao who signed off on a multimillion dollar contract for Prima Food - a company in which his daughter was a shareholder.

Last month, Radio Australia's parent company the ABC obtained documents which suggested Mr Gusmao had awarded 3.5 million dollars to the company Prima Food, to import rice last year.

Mr Ramos Horta says he has confidence in the Prime Minister

"I think corruption is serious in Timor Leste but I reject the charges that top government officials are involved like the prime minister," he said. "The prime minister is a very very honest person. He wants to do things fast."

Mr Gusmao has also rejected the allegations, and says he welcomes an investigation by the country's newly formed anti corruption commission.

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