06 June 2012

JSMP: Public prosecutor seeks 12 year sentence against the defendant LMBFL and 9 year sentence against the defendant AdAF

The Dili District Court
6/06/2012 Press Release Public Prosecutor seeks 12 year sentence against the defendant LMBFL and 9 year sentence against the defendant AdAF - On 30 May 2012 the Dili District Court continued the trial of a case of alleged misuse of power, falsification of documents and suspected corruption involving the defendants LMBFL and AdAF. The hearing was convened to hear the final recommendations in two cases registered as No. 62/C/Ord/2011/TDD and 580/C.Ord/2011/TDD respectively. Prior to the aforementioned hearing the court had already conducted a number of hearings between 23-25 May and then another hearing on 28 May with the trial adjourned until the 30 May to hear the final recommendations from the public prosecution team.

The hearing scheduled to hear the final recommendations from the parties was presided over by a panel of judges comprising Edite Palmira (presiding), Paulo Texeira and Jose Maria de Araujo. The prosecution was represented by Angelina Saldanha, Felismino Cardoso and Jose Ximenes. The defendant LMBFL was represented by public defenders Sergio Hornai and Cancio Xavier, whilst the defendant AdAF was provided with legal representation by public defender Fernando Lopez de Carvalho.

The Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Olivera, stated that the aforementioned trials and results are a barometer of the credibility of the Timor-Leste legal system now and into the future, therefore JSMP requests for the judicial actors to carry out their role with full responsibility, subject only to the law and the Constitution.

In his final recommendations the public prosecution team maintained their original charges as stated in case No. 622/C.Ord/2012/TDD relating to a tender regarding the construction of Civil Registry Offices in 8 districts and Case No. 580/C.Ord/2011/TDD regarding the procurement of uniforms for Corrections Facility officers.

In their charges the public prosecution team stated that the defendant LMBFL had provided false testimony to the court in relation to the procurement/supply of uniforms for Corrections Facility officers.

During the aforementioned hearing the defendant LMBFL testified that she did not know an Indonesian businessman who was named as the winner of the tender.

In his final recommendations in the case involving the defendant AdAF the public prosecutor accused the defendant AdAF, in his capacity of president of the bid evaluation committee, of deciding and informing the defendant LMBFL that the Wasupa Ltd company was the winner of the tender. Moreover, the defendant AdAF was also accused of providing documents to the bid evaluation committee from the “Public Works” department to be signed without giving an opportunity to the members of the aforementioned committee to first read the contents of the aforementioned documents. The defendant AdAF was also suspected in being involved in falsifying the signature of another member (CdC) of the bid evaluation committee to benefit the Wasupa Ltd company.

After reading out their final recommendations in the first case the public prosecution team went on to read out their final recommendations in the second case involving the defendant AdAF. In this case the public prosecution team maintained their accusations that the defendant LMBFL had given false testimony to the court in relation to the quality of the construction of Civil Registry Offices in several districts, and Lospalos District in particular.

Based on the testimony of the defendants and witnesses in the two cases, the public prosecution team recommended for the court to sentence the defendant LMBFL to 12 years imprisonment and the defendant AdAF to 9 years imprisonment.

The public prosecution team charged the defendants pursuant to Article 263 of the Indonesian Penal Code regarding falsification of documents which carries a sentence of 6 years imprisonment, however this article was replaced with Article 304 (2) of the Timor-Leste Penal Code regarding aggravated falsification of documents that carries a sentence between 2-8 years imprisonment as well as Article 3 of Indonesian Law No. 31/1999 on the
Eradication of Corruption that carries a sentence of between 1-20 years imprisonment.

Also, the charges were made pursuant to the crime of intentional mismanagement pursuant to Article 274 (1) that carries a sentence of 1-4 years imprisonment, and sub-section (2) that carries a sentence of 2-6 years imprisonment, as well as the crime of abuse of power pursuant to Article 297 of the Timor-Leste Penal Code that carries a sentence of 1-4 years imprisonment.

In response to the aforementioned charges the team of lawyers representing the defendants rejected all of the charges and stated that the public prosecution team had not shown concrete legal facts to strengthen their accusations that the defendant had in fact communicated with the Indonesian businessman. In addition, the lawyers representing the defendant also objected to and strongly rejected the witnesses presented by the public prosecutor, especially witnesses LdO, MJ and JdS because these witnesses had previously had a problem with the husband of the defendant AL relating to a case involving the husband of the defendant.

JSMP understands that this case is complex and requires the good will and professional courage of the judicial actors, however the final resolution of this case will have a profound impact on rule of law in Timor-Leste today and in the future. Also, JSMP believes that this case will be a test case for our law enforcement officers and the relevant institutions as well as the public of Timor-Leste in general and will be a good reference point for justice sector politics in the future.

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