CNRT illegal donations

GOPAC   (Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption)
TIMOR-LESTE Rua De Nu Laran-20 Bairro dos Grillos-Dili
Telephone: (670) 331-3457 ext: 107 (Hugo Fernandes)

PRESS RELEASE

The Global Organisation of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC)
in Timor-Leste has called for an urgent investigation into reports
that CNRT, the political party headed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão,
has recently raised at least $2.65 million in political donations –
much of it in apparent violation of Timorese law.

Newspaper reports this week have detailed a long list companies and
individuals which reportedly pledged donations at a fund raising event
hosted by Mr Gusmão. The biggest donations are said to have been made
by companies that have in recent years won major government
construction contracts. These companies include Jonize (which
reportedly donated $250,000 donation), BTK ($250,000), Marabian
($250,000), Tinolina ($200,000) and Montana Diak ($200,000). Donations
are reported to have also been received from a number of foreign
companies, including $200,000 from Puri Akraya Engineering, an
Indonesian company that in 2010 won a $406 million contract to build
the Hera power plant – the biggest contract in Timor-Leste’s history.

If the reports are correct, these donations would appear to be illegal:

·         Political parties are prohibited from receiving donations
from companies: Article 22(a) of Law 03/2004 on Political Parties; and
Article 4 of the Legal regime for the Financing of Political Parties,
6/2008.

·         Political parties are prohibited from receiving donations
from foreign companies or individuals: Article 22(g) of Law 03/2004 on
Political Parties; and Article 4 of the Legal Regime for the Financing
of Political Parties, 6/2008.

·         While donations from “national individuals” are permitted,
contributions exceeding $1000 must be certified by bank cheque – to
ensure the contribution is from an individual, not a company: Article
9 of the Legal regime for the Financing of Political Parties, 6/2008.

·         Leaders of political parties, individuals or managers of
corporations who breach these rules face a penalty of six months to
two years imprisonment or a fine of $500 to $5000: Article 23 of the
Legal regime for the Financing of Political Parties, 6/2008.

·         In addition, Timor-Leste has ratified the United Nations
Convention against Corruption, which requires countries to take steps
to enhance transparency of political party funding and to prevent
conflicts of interest. Article 9 of the Constitution makes such
treaties part of Timorese law.

GOPAC has today requested these reported donations be investigated by
the Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC), Prosecutor-General (PG) and the
National Election Commission (CNE). CAC or the PG should also make an
application to the court to freeze CNRT’s bank accounts while the
investigation takes place.

“These reported donations appear to be a clear breach of laws that the
current government introduced to prevent corruption,” said GOPAC chair
Fernanda Borges. “Unlawful donations to political parties pose a
serious threat to the democracy we have fought so hard to protect. As
we prepare to celebrate 10 years as an independent nation, it is
crucial that the law is upheld and that these claims are
investigated.”

Fernanda Borges (Tel: +670 733 0744)
              Thursday 17 May 2012
Chair, GOPAC Timor Leste
Parliamentary Leader, Partido Unidade Nacional

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