Monday, 9 February 2009

The Government Praised Corruptor, Xanana Tells Lies (is a Liar)

Dili, Tempo Semanal

Translation of lead story from Edisaun 120, 12 January 2009.

The Provedor for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) is an independent body with function to appreciate and satisfies the complains from the citizens against the public authorities, and to make sure that those acts are in conformity with the law as well as looking for possibilities to prevent and initiate the whole process to improve justice, combat corruption, collusion and nepotism, however the state bodies especially the government, has simplified the role of PDHJ only as a curtain to hide the corrupting acts of the government.

This shows that, the government’s classic doctrine of zero tolerance for corruption and the political commitment that taken five cents to be dismissed, is only a political propaganda to destruct the public, because PDHJ is an independent organ which is defined Article 27 of the Constitution of the RDTL, has conducted investigation for some indication of corruption in the government, but the government denies it by not appreciating several reports produced by PDHJ.

"We have investigated some officials for corruption acts, and have referred it to the Office of the Public Prosecution. While it is in the Office of the Public Prosecution, we recommended the competent ministry to take disciplinary measures in accordance with the civil service law, but until now the government did not take any disciplinary measure and worse the government has sent the official to study abroad. How can we educate people, how can we ask people to stop making corruption if those who corrupt were sent to study abroad, what to study? Studying to be a best corruptor!”, the Provedor, Sebastião Dias Ximenes questioning when interviewed by this newspaper in his office just recently.

Besides the corruption case by the civil servant, there is also a corruption case involving Timor-Leste’s Ambassador for Indonesia. In this part, PDHJ has conducted investigation and found out that there is an indication of corruption but since Ambassador is not a part of the civil servants therefore the process for the Ambassador is through the Office of Public Prosecution. However the lady who worked with the Ambassador, since she is a civil servant then there should be a disciplinary action taken in accordance with the civil service law. Nevertheless the lady does not receive any disciplinary action and worse she is now become one of the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, the Provedor is asking with sad expression. There are also some cases that has investigated and the recommendation has been referred but they (Provedor does not want to mention the name of the ministry) forwarded the case to the civil service directorate to do the investigation. “Provedor is the highest institution, thus when it has investigated the case, it should be the last resource and not to forward it to the smaller institutes to investigate. This means that we do not understand the law”, Sebastiao said. Furthermore he said, there are also some corruption act y some members of the government, these corruption acts occurs when those members of government performed their work not according to the law and the legal procedures.

"the member of the government uses his power to grant project to people known by him, worse though there has been a decree law on procurement but we only use our power by practicing single source (direct appointment). It clearly shows that we are committing abuse of power because we are granting projects to our colleagues or family. Therefore I would like to say that abuse of power takes part in the types of corruption” Sebastiao said. Other case within the AMP government which was detected by the Provedor was conflict of interest between some members of government. “As because we it is our family or as because we have relationship with the company, therefore we give the priority because of the family relationship. Therefore, I would like to say that, during 2008, the number of complains on corruption was received by PDHJ was in a total of 45”, he said. Why did those types of corruption exists within the AMP government, Sebastiao responded that, because the members of government mainly defends their partisan, group and family interests than the national interest, because the some members of the government has the ambition to gain something through the use of power and that because there is not good control from the top.

how to combat those types of corruption, Sebastiao said that, there should be a good political will from the government, the political will should not only in words, but put in practice, because the former government always say zero tolerance for corruption and the current government said whoever steal five cent is dismissed, whoever does not perform well is dismissed. But this will of the government will only in mouth and if this political will indeed puts into practice, there has been many people dismissed because of stealing five cents, but now it is not only five cents, no one is even dismissed though hundred thousand dollars was stolen. Such case occurs because the government does not have the power and courage to take measures in dismissing those people who are corrupting. “I can see that Mr. Prime Minister has good intention to combat corruption, but is there courage to take measures on those people who are corrupting”, Sebastiao asked Xanana as the Head of Government. The Provedor reinforced that, if the Prime Minister has the courage, he should not be shocked and establishing the Anti Corruption Commission but should ask the anti corruption institutions such as PDHJ, Office of the Public Prosecutor and the Inspector General to promptly conduct investigation on information and criticisms which pointing that there are corruption in some ministries. "Just now everyone was shocked when the Transparency International and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) issued their report that the level of corruption in Timor-Leste is very high. In my opinion we should not be shocked of it but should look at how we can detect and take measures to stop corruption, we should not accuse other people of our corruption deeds,” he said. Furthermore he said, suppose the government requests the Provedor to carry out investigation from one ministry to another, but before requesting it, the government should reinforce the resource of the Provedor because currently Provedor only conducted investigation based on complains that Provedor received from the community. Provedor is unable to take its own initiative to carry out investigation because the human resources in the Provedor are not sufficient. According to Sebastiao, the government does not want to reinforce the function of Provedor but instead be shocked and establishing the Anti Corruption Commission. "If I was the Prime Minister, I will ask the Provedor to enter each ministry to carry out investigation”, he said.

Furthermore the Provedor reinforced that, if the government has the courage to combat corruption, then there should be a good political will, there should be coordinated actions, there should be strong and clear law, there should be sufficient human resource as well as financial resource and also there should be support from the whole community. “I know that Mr. Prime Minister has good intention to combat corruption, but when shall Mr. Prime Minister take measures on those people who are corrupting, because currently I noticed that Mr. Prime Minister seems quiet even though there has been many complains on corruption and various recommendations which PDHJ has referred to some ministries to take disciplinary actions based on the civil service law. If the Prime Minister has the courage to say that his government has not committed corruption, then he should not be just quiet but should request the Provedor to carry out investigation. “Today, we conducted investigation because of the complaints from Fretilin bench; the government itself has not conducted any internal investigation on the existing corruption risk. That is why, how would people say that we have the will to combat corruption if we are not reinforcing the existing anti corruption institutions but instead establishing a commission which has the same function as Provedor. Therefore I would like to say, even the Prime Minister has good intention but if it is not implemented then by adopting the Indonesian word, we may say that it is “omong kosong” (nonsense), said Sebastiao with loud voice. At the same time, the Provedor questioned on some members of the community who were afraid to present complains to Provedor because during these days there are some people contacted the Provedor that they experienced abuse of power in some ministries but when the Provedor request to meet, the person was afraid. Therefore, the Provedor requested the members of community not to be afraid to present anything to the Provedor because Provedor will keep in secret the identity of the person who presented complains. For the members of community who are afraid to file complains, the Provedor requested to contact PDHJ or may submit complains to PDHJ without identification or may also sent an SMS to the Provedor whenever the community figure out that some members of the government are corrupting.

Whenever the community sees or knows that in one place or in some ministries there are members of government doing corruption but they are not willing or afraid to inform the Provedor, it means that the community itself also contribute to the acts of corruption.

"I would like to give an example on the case of importation of beer through the Dili Port. In regard to this case, someone sent an SMS to the Provedor to request direct intervention from the Provedor to the Dili Port in order to carry out investigation on the containers which are full of beer but people who work there say that the container contains only milk. After receiving the SMS, I promptly ordered my Director and two of his investigators to go to the Dili Port to carry out investigation and figured out that indeed there was falsification of data", he said.

There are also some people who wanted to hand over corruption documents to the PDHJ but they requested the Provedor to buy the documents. "Some people were asking whether or not the PDHJ is able to buy the documents from them. Therefore I told them, suppose the government allocate the budget for us so that we can buy those documents ", he said.

There are also some people telephoned the Provedor saying that some companies wanted to import goods but when they went to register, there are people who charge them (the companies). Since at that time, the Provedor was on a visit to abroad, so the Provedor only make an appointment to meet with the person upon return to Timor. But when the Provedor returned to Timor, he does not want to meet with the Provedor anymore, this means that he is afraid of something. Therefore the Provedor requested the whole public to fight against corruption because corruption will only make those who are rich become richer, and those who are poor become poorer. “I personally am not afraid of anyone when I talked about corruption. I am not afraid because I work to combat corruption; I work to defend the rights of the people and the people itself who has appointed me to fulfill this position, therefore I should defend the people, defend the revenue of the Timor Sea so that the money is not only to feed and make rich some people”, Sebastiao preaches to show that to combat corruption we are not only sacrificing our words and false promises but sacrifice through practice and there is no word of compromise to those who steals the money of the people’s. (aro)


Anonymous said...

to combat the corruption is a better way for the future of the people,don't just sit but we have to cry out to the goverment to listen ....

Anonymous said...

Don't just cry, but "at least" do something about it!They're not gonna listen to us "whiny-bastards"-"that's what I think of the current gov. when they "try" to listen to us" - SO, Let's do our best - Give as much help as we can to our fellow citizens out there!