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21 February 2013

Justice Minister Soares hails court's decision to jail former Justice Ministry official on corruption charges

ETLJB21 February 2013 - A former high official in the East Timor Justice Ministry has been sent to jail for his part in the corruption scandal that saw the former Minister for Justice, Lucia Lobato, jailed for 5 years over a procurement contract.

Mr Freitas was the Head of the Justice Ministry’s supply department at the time that the Ministry procured a contract for the supply of prison uniforms and faced charges over that procurement at the same time as Lucia Lobato was charged.

He was apparently found not guilty at the first trial in the Dili District Court but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal and he was found guilty of corruption.

Minister for Justice, Deonisio Babo was reported by Independente on the same day as saying that  he was proud of the development of justice in the country because recent decisions of the Courts had improved the credibility of the justice sector and bolstered the people's confidence in the judiciary.

Mr Soares is also reported to have said that the work of the Public Prosecution had resulted in good outcomes in the judicial process in Timor-Leste to try those who are involved in acts of crime; particularly high officials such as the former Justice Minister and her cohorts in corruption. Sources:  TVTL 24/01/2013, Independente 24/01/2013, ETLJB. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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