Subject: TLGOV: PM Alkatiri categorically denies allegations of corruption.

Also: Media Release from the Council of Ministers

Media Statement from the Office of the Prime Minister

REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR-LESTE Office of the Prime Minister

Wednesday 3 March 2004

Media Release: Prime Minister Alkatiri categorically denies allegations of corruption.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri categorically denies allegations by Oceanic Exploration and its subsidiary Petrotimor that he was offered or accepted US$ 2.5 million from ConocoPhillips Petroleum to secure their investment in the Timor Sea.

Prime Minister Alkatiri said today 'I have not, nor have I ever, taken bribes from ConocoPhillips or any other party. I regard these allegations as far-fetched and frivolous.'

Alkatiri considers the claim to be vexatious and to have been filed in bad faith. He said "Timor-Leste is the newest and one of the poorest countries in the world. Such allegations come as a highly unfortunate distraction at this difficult and crucial time of nation building. I understand that corruption has the potential to ruin Timor-Leste's prospects; that is why it is my personal mission to build Timor-Leste on principles of integrity, honesty and transparency.'

Prime Minister Alkatiri, who is not named as a respondent, is however seeking advice for legal action in relation to the defamatory allegations.

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Media Release from the Council of Ministers

REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DE TIMOR-LESTE

Governo de Timor-Leste

Thursday 4 March 2004

Media Release:

The Timor-Leste Council of Ministers regards allegations of corruption and bribery as frivolous and in bad faith.

The Timor-Leste Council of Ministers has stated: "We consider the allegations made by Petrotimor and its parent, Oceanic, to be far-fetched and in bad faith."

Neither Timor-Leste, nor any member of its government, is named as a respondent in the claim of racketeering and interference in economic gain, filed by Oceanic and Petrotimor in Washington on Monday 1 March. However, the Council expressed its solidarity with Prime Minister Alkatiri in his categorical denial of defamatory allegations and insinuations in the claim that he accepted US$ 2.5 million from ConocoPhillips Petroleum to secure their investment in the Timor Sea. The Council expressed solidarity with the members of Prime Minister Alkatiri's family alleged to have also received money. The Council also expressed solidarity with members of the Timor-Leste National Parliament and leadership aggrieved by the defamatory allegations and insinuations.

The Timor-Leste Council of Ministers stated: "The claim by Petrotimor and Oceanic is frivolous and vexatious. It is a highly unfortunate distraction at this difficult and crucial time of nation building." The Council noted that the claim is based on purported exploration licenses issued by the Portuguese colonial power in 1974. Neither Petrotimor nor Oceanic sought to enforce any such license during Timor-Leste's 25 years of Indonesian illegal occupation, or to object to that occupation in any manner.


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