28 October 2012

Fuel station owned by PM's nephew targetted during night of violent clashes in Dili

ETLJB 28 October 2012 - There were violent clashes between groups of youths on Friday night and the early morning hours of Saturday in a market which culminated in an attack and attempted arson of the nearby Pertamina fuel station in the suburb of Balide in Dili at 2.00am local time.

According to some witnesses on the scene, the police were very slow to act despite having received numerous phone calls to report what was happening in the conflict zone. The police eventually appeared some hours after the event.

The Portuguese-language website, Timor Hau Nian Doben, reports that although the fuel station trades under the Indonesian state-owned oil company, Pertamina, it is operated by a company called Esperansa Timor Oan that is based in Taibessi and is owned by Nilton Gusmao, the nephew of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. 

Nilton Gusmao owns several companies and the Pertamina fuel station that was attacked has, according to Timor Hau Nian Doben, has been given the lucrative contract by the government to provide fuel to vehicles belonging to the state. He has also won several very lucrative procurement contracts relating to fuel in East Timor including the new power station.

The original post in the Portuguese language may be read here at Timor Hau Nian Doben.

On 13 November 2009, FRETILIN MP Inacio Moreira called for an urgent investigation into the awarding to Nilton Gusmao, a nephew of the Prime Minister, part of the contract to supply fuel for government vehicles, following a tender in 2007.

In a media release from Fretilin on that day, Fretilin cited section 3 of Law 7 of 2007 on Constitutional Officeholders (which was proclaimed into law by President Ramos-Horta on 22 July 2007), and said that Esperansa Timor Oan should not have been allowed to tender for the fuel supply contract if Nilton Gusmao held 10 per cent or more of the shares, directly or indirectly, in the company.

On May 26, 2008, the Finance Minister Ms Emilia Pires signed a contract with ETO and another company, Aitula Fuels, as a result of the tender process. After a trial period of six months, the contracts were extended for a further four and half years, this time signed by the Prime Minister.

The total contract over four years is worth at least US$8 million, with Esperansa Timor Oan providing fuel for state vehicles in the Districts of Lautem, Baucau, Viqueque, Manatuto, Oecussi and Dili districts, while Aitula Fuels looks after Aileu, Ainaro, Same, Suai, Liquica, Ermera, Maliana 
and also Dili District.

The Dili weekly newspaper, Tempo Semanal, reported this case on September 7, 2009, noting that their journalists were denied information on the share holders of ETO from the Directorate of Business Registration of the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry.

Related story
Xanana Mistakenly Signs Contract with ETO (a company owned by his nephew)

Author: Warren L. Wright Sources: Timor Hau Nian Doben, Fretilin and Tempo Semanal

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