A senior PNTL officer informed Tempo Semanal that the PM2 submachine guns purchased from PT PINDAD were found to be faulty during a training session last Saturday. In the mean time Secretary of State Francisco Guterres said he has requested the presence of the relevant company responsible for the procurement of the weapons to answer for the poor quality of the quality of the PT PINDAD products. Guterres confessed he does not know which company was responsible for the importation of weapons for PNTL into Timor-Leste. He stated that Commander Longuinos Monteiro was responsible for this matter.
“I did approve some amount of money to buy 75 PM2 weapons. I entrusted to the PNTL commander who has knowledge in this regard. But there was some questions regarding the quality and sutibaility of these weapons. So we just brought in five unit for testing and these weapons appear of poor quality,” said Francisco Guterres, Secretary of State for Security.
According to the packing list number 16/PL/DS/BD/VII/2012, dated July 24th 2012 PT.PINDAD (PERSERO) sent five units of sub machine gun cal. 9mm PM2-V1 to the PNTL (East Timor National Police). The Deputy Director of PT PINDAD signed the letter. Based on the reference order number 12000513 dated February 21th 2012.
On the same day the Directorate Weapon’s System signed of a packing list no. 15/PL/DS/P/BD/VII/2012 for 30 anti riot gun SAR-2.
In a request letter to head of East Timor Custom on 30/07/2012 PNTL General Commander Longuinhos Monteiro demanded that the weapons be handed over to PNTL.
|PNTL General Commander Longuinos Monteiro|
Speaking anonymously a senior customs officer told Tempo Semanal, “the items was not allowed to be check by the Customs Authorities and was released immediately so we do not know how many weapons were in fact imported into the country.”
The customs officer further told Tempo Semanal, “the total numbers of weapons appear to be same as those declared on the paper but this PNTL officer act very suspiciously.”
When asked by Tempo Semanal a number of civil society actors seeking anonymity questioned why the PNTL needs such high powered weapons, in a country when the most common threats to public safety are domestic violence, occasional martial arts clashes involving sharp weapons such as machete. Certainly far below the needs for submachine guns.
This is hardly the community policing style that certain members of the Government have been calling for for some years.
In the mean time Timorese in Dili are preoccupied with the PNTL mismanagement of their weapons which causes some to be lost, stolen or even perhaps sold. Last night PNTL conducted road blocks and stop and search process in the heart Dili searching for a missing FNC semiautomatic assault rifles along with 60 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition. As reported yesterday, this weapon was lost or otherwise misplaced while in the possession of the Commander of PNTL (East Timor National Police) Intelligence Unit.
However, in answer to probing questions from the public Longuinos Monteiro PNTL commander has dismissed the case as not being a serious matter. However, Deputy Prime Minister Fernando Lasama has stated it is a most serious matter and demanded that the weapon be recovered immediately.
"I don't think it will give any negative impact to the state with one missing weapon," said Mr. Longuinhos after the meeting with President today.
Yesterday the Secretary of State for Security urged that the case be investigated and that the PNTL Intelligence Commander be suspended. However at the time of writing the officer remains at work in his office at PNTL HQ in central Dili, despite Commander Longuinos assuring media and public inquiries with statements that the officer has been suspended.