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13 April 2013

Prime Minister Gusmao lashes out at Anti-Corruption Commission

East Timor's Anti-Corruption Commissioner Aderito de Jesus Soares
Aderito de Jesus Soares
ETLJB 13 April 2013 - The Anticorruption Commission (Tetum acronym: “KAK”) has reacted strongly to the statements by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao during the week in which he said that it would be better for KAK to return to the National Parliament, because it could not differentiate itself between legality and politics during the investigation process.

In a media release received by this newspaper last Thursday, 11 April 2013, the Anticorruption Commissioner Aderito de Jesus Soares made it clear that KAK undertook its work of investigating everyone according to law and without discrimination.

PM Xanana Gusmao increase tensions after KAK began to walk into the government's corridors and investigate members of government suspected of involvement in corruption, collusion and nepotism, in particular the Finance Minister Emilia Pires.

Xanana said that KAK should first investigate him before investigating members of his government, because as head of government, he is responsible for elaborating the programs for implementation.

Xanana strongly disagreed that KAK are investigating members of government regarding the award of the Comoro Bridge and airport to Government Palace road rehabilitation contracts as emergency works.

So Xanana has asked KAK to distinguish between legality and politics, otherwise people will think that members of government are all thieves.

"Otherwise we will just switch KAK and Parliament with one another,” he stated.

In his media release the Anticorruption Commissioner Aderito de Jesus Soares the diplomatically responded so as to ensure there is no public misperception of the work of KAK, stressing that KAK undertakes all its work in accordance with the law and constitution of the Republic.

“KAK undertakes its activities strictly in accordance with its legal mandate in law number 8/2009, such as the mandate to take preventative measures (including raising public awareness regarding corruption) and investigating criminal activity," he said.

Aderito added that in all its investigations KAK treats everyone equally before the law and in accordance with the constitution of the RDTL.

This means that KAK begins a criminal investigation after having been issued a mandate by the public prosecutor, which applies the law equally to everyone.

KAK has in a short period of time after its establishment already prepared staff and investigators with specific anticorruption skills.

KAK is conscious that it still needs to do a lot to lift the capacity of its staff so that KAK can be more successful in implementing its mandate, with a clear plan to strengthen and increase these specific capacities of the organisation.

As such KAK believes that corporation between all state institutions as well as with the general public is an imperative and key factor in successfully preventing and fighting corruption in Timor-Leste.

According to Commissioner Aderito, KAK will continue to do its work as mandated by law and stressed that the independence of KAK whilst performing its function will be unaffected by the various publicly expressed criticisms and perceptions. Source: Jornal Independente 12 April 2013. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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