Mismanagement highlighted in East Timor

Contracts with a Chinese company lead critics to blast government for alleged poor procurement policies.

Published by Al Jazeera English, Oct. 19, 2013

By Tom Benner

Dili, East Timor – East Timor’s government has come under renewed public criticism after granting a contract to a Chinese state-owned company to supply furniture to Timorese schools.

The contract of just over $1m is relatively small for a country with oil and gas wealth, but its significance is larger. In 2008 the prime minister, Xanana Gusmao, granted the same company a $300m contract – the largest in the nation’s history at the time – to build East Timor’s power plants and national electricity grid.

The company, Chinese Nuclear Industry Construction Company No. 22 (CNI22), was widely criticised for its failure to fulfill the terms of the contract, and a big portion of the work had to be reassigned to a different company, increasing the cost by hundreds of millions of dollars and delaying the project for several years.

“We hope that they will never receive another contract from East Timor,” a government watchdog group, La’o Hamutuk (Walking Together), wrote in an October 8 letter to the chairman of the National Procurement Commission. Continue reading …

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