24 August 2012

Military chief calls for immediate dismissal of Police Commissioner

General Lere Anan
East Timor Legal News 24/08/2012 The Chief of the East Timor Defence Forces, General Lere Anan has pubilcly called for the immediate dismissal of Police Commander Longinhos Monteiro over the recent  loss of an FNC semi automatic assault rifle by a police officer and at least 30 other missing police weapons.

The President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak has raised his concerns of a spate of lost police weapons with the  Secretary of State for Security Fransisco Guterres and has requested the Secretary to instruct the PNTL (East Timor National Police) to recover the weapon without further delay.

Tempo Semanal reports that General Lere has stated that "the PNTL member must punished for his mistake. If this happens in FDTL (the armed forces), the soldier must be sacked immediately".

Tempo Semanal has also reported that the PNTL Commander Longuinos Monteiro has not been truthful over the matter of the police service losing weapons and associated disciplinary matters.  He has stated in media and press conferences that the officer responsible has been suspended two weeks ago but it has only happened 3 days ago, and the officer in question retains access to government assets.
PNTL Commander Longuinos Monteiro

The missing FNC rifle in question was held by the PNTL Intelligence Unit Commander, Octavio Araujo, in the Police Headquarters in Dili.

Commissioner Monteiro has told media and public that the missing weapons were not of concern, and that he was conducting investigations.

Police Officer Araujo only received a suspension letter on 22 August signed by the PNTL Commissioner.  But Tempo Semanal PNTL sources state that “Mr. Octavio Araujo was suspended from his post on Tuesday this week after getting the suspension letter from the General Commander. But he still has his Government mobile phone and his official car,” said a senior PNTL commander who asked Tempo Semanal not to name him.

According to eyewitnesses in the Indonesian Food Bar, Officer Araujo came to the bar with a Timorese woman.  "The car was park here inside this place but we didn’t see he had an FNC rifle. He was drunk. Maybe the gun was in the car I don’t know,” said a person familiar with the bar.

The PNTL considers the woman a suspect in the lost or stolen weapon and PNTL has conducted an investigation but have today discovered that the suspect has fled country to Indonesia soon after the investigation became apparent.

In the mean time the investigation inside PNTL has not started yet said a source close to the Investigation Commander unit in PNTL headquarter Dili. According to Tempo Semanal sources Mr. Jorge Monteiro, Commander of Internal Investigations, has yet to decide to investigate the suspended PNTL member.  Mr. Monteiro is himself a suspect in many previous cases of police misconduct.

The weapon is presumed to be with Timorese civilians but PNTL officers are blaming each another for the the weapon's loss due to competing interests among PNTL officers for the position of General Commander.

Tempo Semanal sources indicate that current Police Commissioner Longuinous Monteiro is viewed as being ineffective and incompetent by political leadership.

Meanwhile, the National Parliament has requested the police to account for the 31 weapons missing since the 2006 crisis.

“These weapons must be found because they are in the wrong hands, as legally, only the army and police are entitled to carry them,” said MP David Diaz Ximenes, (14/08), in Parliament.

Second Commander of the PNTL, Commissioner Afonso de Jesus, reported that of the thirty one (31) missing weapons; twenty seven (27) were pistols and the others were K33 guns.

“The police are trying to find these weapons and we also ask for cooperation from the community. People should be considerate and return the state assets to the police,” said Commissioner de Jesus.

Related stories
 Civil Society Defence and Security Monitor Requests Release of 2008 Report on Weapons Recovery
PNTL Loses Weapons: Commander Longuinos Monteiro In Charge 
Civil Society Defence and Security Monitor Requests Release of 2008 Report on Weapons Recovery 
Police deny rumors of illegal weapons in Ermera
East Timor Legal News 15 August 2012 
East Timor Legal News 10 August 2012

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