19 September 2012

Extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on 14 September 2012

ETLJB 19 September 2012 - The V Constitutional Government met on Friday, September 14, 2012, in the Council of Ministers meeting room at the Government Palace in Dili and approved the First amendment to Law No 16/2011 approving the State Budget for 2012 .

This amendment to the Law No 16/2011 of  December 21, 2011 approving the State Budget for 2012 neither increases nor decreases the total state budget already approved by that law. This change only makes a reallocation of budgeted funds which relate to Annexes II, III and IV of this law.

Therefore, over $ 55 million dollars was transferred to the Infrastructure Fund for two projects at Tasi-Mane and the expenses not paid into the Consolidated Fund in order to cover the following needs:

    Pension for Veterans – $ 26.9 million;
    Allowance for Seniors – $ 7.1 million;
    Contingency Fund – $ 6.1 million;
    Contingency Fund – $ 6.1 million;
    Ministry of Education – $ 1.7 million;
    Goods and Services – $ 2.4 million;
    Transfers to the Church and Civil Society – $ 1.4 million;
    Ministry of Health – $ 1.2 million;
    Operation of the Berlin-Nakroma – $ 1.2 million;
    Water and Sanitation – $ 1.2 million;
    Institute of Management Equipment – $ 1.2 million;
    External audit – $ 1.1 million; and
    Last payment to LIFESE by the Secretariat of State for Defence – $ 1.1 million. 

ETLJB Editors Note: LIFESE, an Australian-based engineering firm whose chairman is the former NSW Liberal Member of Parliament and Supreme Court of NSW judge, John Dowd, was involved in a dispute with the Government of East Timor over the construction of the new patrol boat base at Hera to the east of the capital, Dili.

LIFESE had, according to a report in The Australian newspaper in February, 2011, had claimed more than $695,000 for damages, saying it had been unable to finish contracted work.

LIFESE had claimed that the East Timor Defence Forces had prevented the company's workers from entering the port site and, after spending $3.8 million, said it had run out of funds and accused the Gusmao government of failing to honour the contract and release further funds for building works to continue. In addition, materials imported from Australia had been stuck at Dili port, accumulating storage charges of $US7000 per day. 

It was observed by some at the time that the dispute arose as a result of a confict between civilian bureaucrats and the East Timor Defence Force over control of $7.7 million in funds to build the base, with Lifese caught in the middle.

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