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17 October 2014

Free East Timor Security Sector Research Tool by Fundasaun Mahein

ETLJB 17/10/2014 FM Press Release 13 October 2014  - Attached here (or paste this link http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/arkivu/) are catalogues providing the details of any journal article, made in Timor-Leste, to do with the security sector for the past three years.

If you wish to see the article in full, take a note of the reference number of the publication and visit us at Fundasaun Mahein Archive Centre at our Balide Address.

Fundasaun Mahein
Departamentu Transporte nia oin (Opposite the Department of Transport)
Dili – Timor-Leste

JSMP: Commitment and Productivity of the East Timor National Parliament (TOR)

East Timor National Parliament Chambers
ETLJB 17/10/2014 From JSMP Introduction - JSMP is a non-government organisation established on 28 April 2001 with a vision to build a “Democratic society which guarantees justice and human rights for all”. JSMP’s mission is to reach its vision through “monitoring, legal education and advocacy”. JSMP’s focuses its monitoring on the courts and the National Parliament.

JSMP has monitored the National Parliament, and given training to community leaders and community members regarding democracy and public participation in the law making process from 2010 until today. These activities aim to contribute to increasing the productivity and quality of the work of the National Parliament in making laws, providing oversight and making political decisions. While the objective of training community leaders and community members is to increase community understanding about democracy and the role of sovereign organs, it is also to promote public participation in the law making process.

Since its establishment, JSMP has produced reports containing various substantive and practical recommendations for the National Parliament to increase productivity and the quality of its work.  JSMP has also organised a series of national seminars to invite community leaders and members from villages which have received training from JSMP, together with members of Parliament, to convey their thoughts, concerns, criticisms and complaints regarding what issues they confront and what they need.

JSMP’s observations in 2014 show that the National Parliament’s productivity is down compared with previous legislative years. Productivity is a measure for the effectiveness of the National Parliament’s work, particularly members of parliament and commissions. This productivity can be measured by the quantity and quality of legislative projects which the National Parliament initiates, holds consultations with the public on, debates and approves, as well as its performance of oversight and political decision making. In addition, we can see the number of proposed laws which come from the Government for which the National Parliament conducts consultations with the public, debates and approves in a legislative year.  In 2014, the number of laws which the National Parliament passed was very few. The laws which the National Parliament passed in the legislative year were: Law No. 1/2014 for the first alteration of Law No. 3/2011 which was prepared and proposed from the Cabinet of the President of the Republic; Law No. 2/2014 for the 2014 State Budget; and Law No. 3/2014 for the Special Economic Zone for the autonomous region of Oecusse.

Casual Corruption in the East Timor National Police

ETLJB 17/10/2014 From Fundasaun Mahein Blog 15 Oct 2014 - There are many hard working members of the police who want to serve their community and their country. Unfortunately they are at risk of being drowned out by members who only want to serve themselves…

As part of its mission FM undertakes a number of community forums in different parts of the country each year. These meetings provide an opportunity for members of the community, community leaders and local civil society organization to meet with PNTL members to discuss common security issues, learn about the security sector and resolve any problems. The meetings are mutually beneficial for all parties and both the community and police have acknowledged the advantages of building stronger relationships.

So when undertaking a community forum last week FM was somewhat surprised when a regional PNTL commander (jointly responsible for coordinating the meetings) asked us for a “tip”. When we refused his request was later repeated in terms of “money for fuel and Pulsa”, and yet again as “money for extra catering”. Perhaps the officer in question forgot what the role of FM is – as he most certainly forgot what his own role is!

Having such obvious benefits, it is a shame that some members of the PNTL view events fostering better communication with the community as a burden on their resources, or worse, an opportunity to profit themselves. Worse still is that in this instance it was a senior commander who seemed not to be aware of his responsibilities (what hope is there for those who serve under him?). It should come as no surprise that FM actually receives many complaints of this type of behaviour from junior officers who are frustrated with the ‘comfortable’ relationships and casual corruption of their superiors.

That’s not to say that the junior officers are themselves perfect. FM has heard of cases where members of the PNTL are asking victims of crime for the use of their cars in order to conduct their investigations. The apparent lack of PNTL vehicles is somewhat surprising considering the number of official motorcades that speed down the streets each day.

These incidents raise several questions for the PNTL command:

Is there such a lack of resources within the PNTL that its members have to ask members of the public or civil society organisations for money and transport?

Why don’t senior members of the force understand the difference between proper conduct and that which is corrupt or unprofessional? Is it that those promoted aren’t suitable people for their jobs?

Why is it that junior officers have so little faith in internal complaints and anti-corruption systems that they turn to us with information rather than reporting it officially? 

Further to these questions we ask that the PNTL takes the following actions:

Investigate our claims of corruption by a member of the PNTL.

Educate their members (and particularly leaders) on what is and is not appropriate behaviour in regards to corruption and professionalism.

Develop an effective and transparent internal complaints system that protects the informants and not the perpetrators of corruption.

Institute a zero-tolerance disciplinary system for those members still unable to act professionally. Source: http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/10/15/casual-corruption-in-pntl/

First amendment to the East Timor State General Budget Law of 2014, approved by the National Parliament

ETLJB 17/10/2014 16 Outubro 2014, 10:33h - Following a request from the Government, the National Parliament met in an extraordinary plenary session, on the 15th October, to discuss and vote the first amendment to Law 2/2014 of February 5, Law of the State General Budget of 2014.

In question was Item 5 of article 8 of the Law referred above, which provided that “If, until the end of the third trimester, the budget execution reaches 75%, the Government may resort to a transfer from the Petroleum Fund above the Estimated Sustainable Income, after informing the National Parliament and assuring a reserve of 200 millions dollars in the Treasury Account.”

The request for this amendment, on the part of the Government, is based on the fact that, at the end of the third trimester, the budget execution achieved was at 50%, thereby implying that the Government cannot proceed with a withdrawal above the Estimated Sustainable Income (ESI).

In his speech, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão explains the reasons why the budget execution should rise this fourth trimester – 13th month of salary to be paid in December; the new positions for the public administration that will filled in until the end of the year; the expenses related to the development capital projects and the execution of the goods and services and minor capital items – warning of the risk of transferring this fiscal year’s debt to next year (2015), as well as the risk of achieving a balance below the 200 millions of dollars reserve (recommended by the Ministry of Finance), if there’s no possibility of withdrawing the excess amount.

In brief, the request for amendment that the Government submitted to the National Parliament is based solely in changing the sentence “If, until the end of the third trimester…” to “When…”, in order to withdraw above the ESI.

The National Parliament approved this first amendment, voting in generality, in each individual section and as a whole. In generality there were 35 votes in favour, 18 abstentions and no votes against the proposal. In each individual section and as a whole, there were 33 votes in favour, 19 abstentions and there were no votes against the proposal. Source: Government of East Timor Press Release 16/10/2014 

See also Extraordinary Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers on 13 October 2014 
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