SPECIAL EDITION: Timor Leste's first oil baron - Nilton Gusmao (English & Tetum versions)

April 03, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

English & Tetum (**Tetum directly below**)

By Ted McDonnell

As a young teen Nilton Gusmao wasn't a particularly bright student; and he didn't impress his lecturers during his tertiary studies in Indonesia, in fact, he struggled. However, Nilton 'dos Santos' Gusmao has had the last laugh by becoming Timor Leste's first oil baron.

Nilton, who mixes property development with his supply of oil and petroleum to the Timor Leste government, is one of the lucky ones in his country.... One could say, a carefully chosen one...

Unlike most people who struggle on less than one dollar a day, Nilton doesn't face malnutrition or the issue of non-existent health care; he is one of Timor Leste's political elite.

He's a young man who recently boasted: "I have so much money I don't know what to do with it."

And, here's the thing his surname is not even Gusmao. He abandoned his father's surname dos Santos to adopt his mother's surname... to align himself with uncle Gusmao and no wonder given the riches the name has returned.

The "Gusmao - dos Santos" clan literally struck gold, or oil at least, when Nilton's uncle Xanana Gusmao was elected Prime Minister in 2007.

Almost immediately the Gusmao family, and associated families, or as the Timorese rather unkindly call them the 'Melbourne Club Mafia', which includes the Pires clan, became Timor Leste's Beverley HillBillies, 'the Clampetts' and much like Jed and family "black gold, Texas tea" - oil- has been their path to riches.


 Caption: The original 'Clampetts' replaced by Timor Leste's political elite


Since 2010, Nilton Gusmao and his partners in the company Esperansa Timor Oan, have sold the Timor Leste government some $213 million in petroleum. Tens of millions of dollars can be added to that amount from previous years and other favourable contracts, the first of which was signed in 2008.

Nilton's first 'official' contract with the Timor Leste government came in 2008. It was signed by uncle Xanana and countersigned by the PM's closest ally, Finance Minister Emilia Pires. At the time of signing the contract it was considered illegal and the 'arrangement' was quickly changed to make the long term oil contract legal.

Pires, Gusmao's unelected, hand picked Finance Minister, was to face court this month in Dili, however, the judges who were to here the case were sacked by the Timor Leste government on lobbying from Pires' best mate the Prime Minister. Pires and the former assistant health Minister face corruption charges over a multi-million dollar contract handed to Pires' Melbourne-based husband. Other Gusmao Ministers are also under investigation but progress on those are now stalled after the sacking the foreign judiciary and corruption advisors.

One must wonder how long the Prime Minister will continue to 'run protection for his Pires and other Ministers. The question constantly asked in Timor Leste is "why does he protect them all so much... why?"

It seems, however, Nilton's first contract "gift" was signed by "mistake".

In 2009, Tempo Semanal reported that the Prime Minister had "mistakenly" signed the contract with fellow Ministers saying "it was not his fault".

At the time Nilton Gusmao laughed at the contract bungles that has made him possibly Timor Leste's wealthiest man... apart from uncle Xanana.

Tempo Semanal: When asked about the signature and name discrepancies on the contract document Nilton said: “I think this contract was signed with two companies, one with Mr. Silverio’s company and one with us, only that the names that were written on the two contracts were the same ones, but I signed the contract myself and it was not somebody else, therefore I do not think there was any fraud involved with the documents. It was merely a technical error that I signed over Mr. Silverio’s name instead of my own,” Nilton explained self-assuredly.

According to Nilton, the contract document signed by the Prime Minister (PM) some months ago was similar to an extension, but that the principal contract was signed by the Minister for Finance Emilia Pires on 26/05/2008.

“The result of the tender shows that the company Esperansa Timor Oan and Aitula Fuels won the tender to supply fuel to government cars, but at the time the government gave them a six months trial period and because they were able to show that they could provide a good service then the government extended their contract.”

“The contract extension the government granted at the time, was not just to one person but for the two of us, and it was because of this that at the time they wrote the wrong name, but because I did not notice it I signed it and it was only afterwards that I discovered that the name printed on the contract I had signed was incorrect,” Nilton said mockingly.

Repeated approaches to interview Nilton Gusmao have failed. Despite speaking very good English when asked questions he suddenly falls back to his native Tetun.

The other winner of major oil contracts in Timor Leste was Aitula Fuels. The directors are long time associate of the Prime Minister.

But here's the thing. Nilton, the rich little oil baron of Timor Leste, has not committed a crime. He has been fortunate enough to have adopted the name of Gusmao and have an uncle called Xanana, who happens to be the Prime Minister.

For Nilton at worst his riches have been gained by nepotism. The Prime Minister remains unaccountable for any of his decisions, it would seem.

The contracts to Nilton can be added to those given to other family members, including Xanana's former wife and his daughter from his first marriage.

No doubt many other Timorese struggling with poverty, unemployment and malnutrition would also like to adopt the Gusmao name given the riches it brings...



Timor-Leste ninian Baraun (Juragan) Mina – Nilton Gusmão

Husi Ted McDonnell

Hanesan mane klosan ida Nilton Gusmao uluk laos estudante matenek ida; nia mos uluk la fo impresoeñs diak ba ninian mestre sira durante nia estuda iha ninian Universidade iha Indonesia, no nia dezaraska tebes ho ninian estudo. Maibe Nilton ‘dos Santos’ Gusmão kontente tebes-tebes wainhira nia sai nudar baraun (juragan) mina primeiru Timor-Leste nian.

Nilton, ne’ebé book an mos iha dezenvolvimentu propriedade nian no sai nudar fornesedor mina no petroleo ba governu Timor-Leste mak ema ida ne’ebé sorte tebes-tebes iha ninian rain... Ita bele dehan, ida ne’ebé hili ho kuidadu tebes.

La hanesan ho ema seluk ne’ebé dezaraska ho menus husi dollar ida iha loron ida nia laran, Nilton la enfrenta malnutrisaun ou falta ba tratamentu saude ne’ebé diak; nia mak elit politiku Timor nian ida.

Nia mak jovem ida ne’ebé foin lalais gava an: “Hau iha osan barak tebes no hau la hatene atu halo saida ho osan sira ne’e”
No ida mak ne’e mos, nia apelido laos Gusmão. Nia husik ninian aman nia apelido dos Santos atu adopta ninian inan nian apelido... ne’ebé halo nia hanesan ho ninian tiu Gusmão, no tanba ne’e ita la hakfodak riku soin hira mak hetan husi naran ida ne’e.

Klan “Gusmão – dos Santos” literamente hetan osan mean, ou mina, wainhira Nilton ninian tiu Xanana Gusmão eleitu sai nudar Primeiru Ministru iha 2007.
Depois de ne’e kedas, familia Gusmão no familia sira seluk ne’ebé besik, ou hanesan Timorense sira sempre bolu sira hanesan “Klubu Mafia Melbourne” nian, ne’ebé inklui klan Pires nian, hirak ne’ebé sai Timor-Lete ninian Beverly HillBillies, “the Clampetts” no hanesan kedas ho Jed no familia “Black gold, Texas tea” – mina mak hanesan sira nian dalan atu sai riku liu.

Desde 2010, Nilton Gusmão ho ninia parseiro sira iha kompañia Esperansa Timor Oan, fan tiha ona governu Timor-Leste ninian osan hamutuk millaun USD 213 iha petroleo. Millaun dollares sanulu resin bele mos aumenta ba montante iha leten, husi tinan hirak liu ba nian kontratu no kontratu sira seluk, iha ne’ebé ida primeiro asina iha 2008.

Nilton ninian kontratu “Offisial” ho governu Timor-Leste akontese iha tinan 2008. Hetan asina husi ninian tiu Xanana no asina mos husi PM ninian maluk ne’ebé besik los, Ministra Finansas Emilia Pires. Iha momentu asina kontratu, ne’e konsidera hanesan ilegal no “aranjamentu” sira ne’e halao mudansa lalais kedas sai hanesan kontratu legal mina nian ida ba tempu naruk.

Pires, Gusmão ninian Ministra Financas ne’ebé la eleitu no mos hatudu deit, atu ba hatan iha tribunal Dili fulan ida ne’e, maibe, juizus sira ne’ebé mak atu hare kazu ida ne’e hetan tiha suspensaun no duni sai tiha husi governu Timor tanba hetan lobi husi Pires ninian maluk besik liu Senhor Primeiru Ministru. Pires no Eis Vise-Ministra Saude hetan alegasaun korupsaun ba kontratu multi-millaun dollares ne’ebé fo ba Pires ninian laen ne’ebé husi Melbourne. Gusmão ninian ministru sira seluk mos hetan investigasaun maibe progresu sira ne’e agora paradu depois de suspensaun no duni sai asesor judisiariu estranjeiru no KAK nian.

Karik ema sempre husu to’o wainhira los mak Primeiru Ministru kontinua atu “Proteje ninian Ministra Pires no Ministru sira seluk. Pergunta ne’ebé kontinua husu iha Timor-Leste mak “Tanba sa mak nia proteje demais liu sira ne’e... tanba sa eh?”

Ita bele sente katak Nilton ninian “prezente” kontratu primeiru ne’e kala asina “Salah” tiha karik.

Iha tinan 2009, Tempo Semana fo sai katak Primeiru Ministru asina “Salah tiha” kontratu ho ninian maluk ministru sira seluk no hateten katak “ida ne’ebá laos ninian salah”.

IHa tempu ne’eba Nilton Gusmão hamnasa ba kontratu lalos ne’ebé mak halo nia sai hanesan ema Timor-Leste ne’ebé riku tebes-tebes... depois de nia tiu Xanana.

Tempo Semanal: Wainhira husu konaba asinatura no naran sira be la duun los iha dokumentu kontratu nian Nilton hateten: “Hau sente kontratu ne’e asina husi kompañia rua, ida ho Sr. Silverio ninian kompañia no ida ho ami, so deit naran sira ne’ebé hakerek iha kontratu rua ne’e hanesan deit, maibe hau mak asina kontratu ne’e rasik no laos ema seluk, tanba ne’e hau sente laiha fraude ruma ne’ebé involve ho dokumentus hirak ne’e. Ida ne’e erru tekniku deit katak hau asina em nome de Sr. Silverio nia naran tiha laos hau nian naran” Nilton esplika ho fiar an los.

Tuir Nilton, dokumentu kontratu ne’ebé asina husi Primeiru Ministru (PM) fulan hirak liu ba ne’e hanesan ekstensaun deit, maibe kontratu principal ne’e asina husi Ministra Finansas Emilia Pires iha loron 26/05/2008.

“Rezultadu husi tender hatudu katak kompañia Esperansa Timor Oan no Aitula Fuels mak manan tender hodi fornese kombustivel ba veikulus governu nian, maibe momentu ne’eba governu fo sira fulan ne’en periodu koko nian (percobaan) no tanba sira hatudu duni katak sira bele fornese servisu ne’ebé diak entaun governu extende sira ninian kontratu”

“Extensaun kontratu ne’ebé governu fo iha tempu ne’ebá, laos deit ba ema ida maibe ba ami nain rua, no tanba momentu ne’eba sira hakerek salah naran, maibe tanba hau la nota ho didiak entaun hau asina tiha no depois fali mak hau deskovre katak naran ne’ebé imprimi iha kontratu ne’e laos hau nian no hau asina salah tiha” Nilton hateten ho gozaun los.

Aproximasaun fila-fila atu halo intervista ho Nilton Gusmão falha ou la akontese. Mesmu bele koalia Ingles ho diak wainhira husu pergunta ba nia, nia sempre hatan fali ho Tetun.

Manan nain seluk boot tebes ba kontratu mina nian iha Timor-Leste mak Aitula Fuels. Ninian diretor sira mak Primeru Ministru ninian maluk sira ne’ebé besik.

Maibe buat ida mak importante. Nilton, mak juragan mina kiik oan ida iha Timor-Leste, ne’ebé seidauk komete krimi ida. Nia sorte tebes-tebes tanba adopta ninian naran ho Gusmão no iha tiu ida naran Xanana, ne’ebé mak nudar Primeiru Ministru mos.

Ba Nilton a’at liu mak ninian riku soin sira ne’e hetan ho Nepotizmu. Maibe ita sente hanesan Primeiru Ministru kontinua la responsabiliza ba ninian desizaun tomak.

Kontratu ba Nilton bele mos aumenta tan ho hirak ne’ebé fo ba membru familia sira seluk, inklui Xanana ninian fen uluk no ninian oan feto husi fen uluk.

Ita bele fiar katak iha Timor oan sira barak tebes mak terus ho ki’iak, laiha servisu no malnutirsaun ne’ebé mak hakarak mos adopta naran Gusmão ne’ebé bele halo riku mos sira…



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