East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin 31/08/2012 - Efforts to combat corruption in East Timor continue with the Anti-Corruption Commission having filed 142 cases of allegations of corrupt conduct by state officials that were reported by members of the public.
Timor Post reported yesterday that the Anti-Corruption Deputy Commissioner Jose Antonio said that between 2010 and 2011, 103 cases had been filed while another 39 cases had been filed in the first six months of 2012.
Deputy Commissioner Antonio added that of the cases that had been investigated by the ACC, some had been submitted to the Public Prosecutor to determine whether to commence court proceedings.
Radio Timor-Leste also reports that Deputy Commissioner Jose Neves has said that the ACC would continue the investigations of allegations of corruption involving some former Ministers and former Secretaries of State of the previous Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) government that was in power from 2007 until 2012. Thirty cases involving officials of the AMP government had been investigated so far this year.
In one such case, the ACC had summoned the former Deputy Minister for Education, Mr Paulo Assis, to provide testimony to the Commission in relation to all physical projects implemented by the Ministry of Education throughout the 5 year term of the AMP government. Radio Televizaun de Timor-Leste reported that the former Minister had appeared at the ACC to give evidence about projects that had not been completed.
After providing his testimony to the ACC, Mr Assis refused to make any comment but according to an unnamed source, he testified as a suspect in an abuse of power allegation in a project that was known as Educational Television.
The ACC will also summon the former Minister for Education, Mr Joao Cancio Freitas, to provide evidence to the Commission.
In the meantime, Transparency International (TI) which is a global coalition of agencies combating corruption, has stated its support for the efforts of the President of the Republic Taur Matan Ruak to fight corruption.
Timor Post reported yesterday that the Director of the Asia Pacific branch of TI, Srirak Plipat and a delegation from Germany (along with Christopher Henry Samson, the Director of anti-corruption NGO LABEH*), met with the President to discuss corruption in the country.
Mr. Plipat said he was happy that the President had prioritised the problem of corruption and would discuss ways to combat it.
Written by Warren L. Wright, Editor, ETLJB
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