Timor-Leste Minister for Agriculture: "If I give attention to my party members, how or why is that wrong?"
SUARA TIMOR LOROSAE
Josefa Parada - Friday, 10 December 2010
DILI – The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Mariano Sabino Assanami, has acknowledged that he handed out some tractors to members of his PD (Democratic Party) because they are part of the farming community.
“Yes indeed I handed out tractors to them. But because they belonged to the farming community and as Timorese citizens who deserved to receive them from the government program so as to facilitate their lives as farmers,” declared Assanami to STL after he had participated in an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) seminar at the Dili Convention Centre, Tuesday 7/12/2010.
Assanami was responding to the accusation recently by the FRETILIN parliamentary group in the National Parliament that Minister Assanami and the Secretary of State for Energy Policy Avelino Coelho had engaged in abuse of power in handing out tractors to PD and PST (Timorese Socialist Party) members.
FRETILIN’s parliamentary leader said that FRETILIN was looking into taking the matter to the Prosecutor General to further investigate.
In response Assanami stated that he was ready to attend before a court at any time if it was just because he had distributed tractors to PD members as farmers.
“The members of parliament are making these accusations because they do not understand the logic from the principles of democracy, as this happens in any developed nation, that when we win of course we have to give priority first to our people who elected us,” stated Assanami.
According to Assanami, PD stands for the political principle of fighting poverty, developing the health and education sectors for the people especially the people who voted for them.
“If I give attention to my party members, how or why is that wrong? More so if I gave it to them because they belonged to the farming community” stated ASssanami. So, Assanami views FRETILIN’s accusation as being more to about creating political confusion to bring down PD.
“I got my seat because there were people who gave me their trust. These people are PD people. Because of this I firstly have to go to them on any occasion. Of course the management of tractors is for everyone. But it does not mean I cannot give my attention also to my party members,” Assanami ended. (Qdy)