Subject: LUSA: Dili wants to act against corruption before problem balloons

14-12-2004 11:51:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-6593982 Temas:

East Timor: Dili wants to act against corruption before problem balloons

Dili, Dec. 14 (Lusa) - Dili understands the worries of investors over corruption in East Timor and the government is determined to crackdown on the emerging phenomenon in tandem with aid donors, Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta said Tuesday.

Describing corruption as still a relatively small-scale problem, Ramos Horta stressed, in comments to Lusa, that Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri was a "decisive person" who could be "quite radical in fighting corruption".

The government, he added, was ready to work with international donors, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to "identify the cracked doors that permit corruption".

The World Bank recently banned four local companies from participating in its tenders for three years after discovering their involvement in price fixing in a national program to equip schools.

Ramos Horta said that corruption in East Timor was not a problem at the government level, whose budget was "super scrutinized", but was a matter of concern among the civil service, especially among border and customs officials.

The major preoccupation, he added, was "persistent allegations" of corruption in the business and economic spheres that "affect our image and credibility" internationally.

"Those who practice corruption are sophisticated people", Ramos Horta said. "They are linked to the private sector, having a long experience of corruption during the 24 years of Indonesian occupation".

EL/SAS Lusa

Copyright © 2003 Agencia Lusa. Todos os direitos reservados. www.lusa.pt

Investment contingent on addressing the "worries of investors"? That's one possibility. Another possibility would be investors and governments paying massive reparations -- no questions asked -- to the East Timorese, who would make political and economic, including investment, decisions themselves, without outside interference. 


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