Friday, 9 October 2009

Internet Exclusive: Minister of Justice Apparently Abuses Her Power - Again.


This video was taken yesterday afternoon at 16:34 Dili time 7 October 2009

The video shows the Minister of Justice has ordered the Land and Property Department of her Ministry to evict the occupants of the fuel station in Vila Verde Dili in Tuana Laran.  This fuel station is currently own by Antonio Putra Baukau.

A notification letter was signed by the Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato, ordering Antonio Putra Baukau to vacate the property. Several Land Property Department officials escorted by a group of Timorese police (PNTL) came and put the eviction notice signs around the fuel station while some cars were still being are still filled with fuel inside the station.

Pedro Aparico, a Dili lawyer, alleged the Minister of Justice has abused her power regarding this eviction notice because the Government should not intervene in the matter of land disputes between two individuals. Minister Lobato can issue an order letter to some body to vacant the land which belongs to the state. Pedro added that the case still in court, so questioned the motives behind the Minsiter's intervention around the court system.

This problem of Antonio Putra Baukau and the other alleged property owner, Maria Lemos, is similar to the City Cafe issue (reported by this newspaper here)  in which the Minister of Justice also issued an eviction notice to the occupant to vacate but was rejected and the Police and the Government security were used to forced out the occupant Maria Fatima and her husband from City Cafe.

During a discussion among the journalist about abuse of power by government officials  Joao Mintan said, "I agreed that Minister of Justice is using her power even it was wrong. When she got the power she has to use it. If she committed some wrong doing lets fixed it later." "I salute the Minister of Justice because she not like the other Minister that never practises their power but always Yes boss, yes boss."

The land which was used to set up the fuel station is in dispute between Antonio Putra Baukau and Maria Lemos. According to some Government officials they told Tempo Semanal that Maria Lemos is holding an Indonesian Passport. According to the Constitution and regulation that foreigners are not allowed to own land in Timor-Leste. If it true then that Maria Lemos is an Indonesian then it menas that the Minister of Justice is breaking the law and the Constitution.

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