International Federation for East Timor

12 March 2002

Secretary-General Kofi Annan 
United Nations, New York, NY 
Via fax

Dear Sir,

We are writing to express our concern about reported pressure by your subordinates on UNTAET and the East Timor Revenue Service to disobey UNTAET regulations and forgo substantial tax revenue owed by a UN contractor.

The attached report by La’o Hamutuk, a joint East Timorese/international NGO, describes the pressure and defines the issue as one of “whether business done by private companies under contract with the UN is exempt from taxes. UNTAET Regulation 2000/18, which established the UNTAET taxation system, contains no such exemption. In fact, standard UN practice where there is no agreement to the contrary is that UN contractors pay taxes.” The East Timor Revenue Service, with the support of the Minister for Finance, has placed a lien on the ship as it attempts to collect service and income taxes from Intership, owner of the floating hotel Amos W.

La’o Hamutuk states that “the heads of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs and Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York are insisting that UNTAET violate or amend its laws and allow the Amos W to sail away.” We urge you to inform these officials and any others involved in the controversy to end this interference and instead support East Timor’s efforts to collect monies owed. To do otherwise would undermine efforts by yourself and the United Nations to establish an independent East Timor on a sound financial footing, as well as on the rule of law.

We look forward to hearing from you about steps taken on this matter.


John M. Miller 
UN Representative, International Federation for East Timor

Attachment: La’o Hamutuk, “Can the Rule of Law Prevail?” (see

Cc: Jean-Marie Guehenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations

Office of Legal Affairs

Members of the Security Council

International Federation for East Timor (IFET) 
Secretariat: Charles Scheiner 
P.O. Box 88 Dili, East Timor 
via Darwin, Australia 
Tel. +61-417-923273 or +670-390-325013 

U.N. Representative: John M. Miller
48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA 
Tel. +1-718-596-7668 

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