21 October 2014

Former Minister of Education tried at the Dili District Court for allegedly committing the crime of economic involvement in business

ETLJB 21/10/2014 From the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program Press Release Dili District Court 6 October 2014 - Between 30 September – 2 October 2014 the Dili District Court conducted a hearing to examine the testimony of witnesses in relation to the crime of economic involvement in business involving defendants JC, the former Minister of Education and TdC, the National Director of Finance, Procurement, Logistics and Administration in the Ministry of Education.

The public prosecutor alleged that the two defendants directly intervened in a project for the installation of radios and televisions in the Ministry of Education when the first defendant held the post of Minister of Education. The project had a budget of US$1,403,000 for the purchase of goods for the installation of televisions and radios in all of the sub-districts for Ministry of Education programs. However, the goods provided were second-hand and did not have serial numbers, and the procurement process was not transparent.

“This project used a very large amount of funding, but there were no clear results. This demonstrates a serious management problem in public institutions. Therefore, JSMP encourages the public prosecutor to identify and investigate the relevant institutions that were involved in this project and hold them accountable”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

During the hearing, the defendant JC denied the public prosecutor’s allegation that, before the proposal was submitted, the defendant had already guaranteed a contract to an Australian company which won the tender. The defendant admitted that he met with the company in Australia before the proposal was initiated, however it was only when a comparative study was being conducted.

The prosecutor charged the defendant TdC, in his capacity of National Director, for signing the CPV before the proposal was drafted, and for preparing a payment request for this project without verifying the goods to ensure that these goods fulfilled the conditions set out in the contract.

The witnesses included PA, former Vice Minister of Education, and each of the department heads for finance, logistics and procurement who mostly testified that they did not know the details of the project because they were not involved in the entire process.

After hearing testimony from the defendants and witnesses the court adjourned the trial until 15 October 2014 to hear testimony from witnesses.

This hearing was presided over by a panel of judges comprising Jose Maria de Araujo, Francisca Marques Cabral and Julio Gantes. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Gloria Alves and Jacinto Babo and the defendants were represented by Manuel Tilman and Jose Guterres. Source: JSMP Press Release 06 October 2014 

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