Anti-Corruption Law circulated for public discussion
28 January 2011. Updated 16 June 2011
In July 2009, Timor-Leste enacted Law No. 8/2009 (also Port) establishing an Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC), which was established in early 2010. During the 2009 debate, La'o Hamutuk presented a submission (also Tetum) to Parliament on the draft law, and wrote an editorial "It takes more than a Commission to end Corruption." In general, we recommended giving more attention to preventing corruption, rather than prioritizing investigating and punishing corruption after it occurs. We also pointed out the need for clearer definition of what constitutes corruption, and extending the scope of the law to include all state agencies.
Although Timor-Leste signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003, we did not ratify it until 2008. In April 2009, Timor-Leste enacted its Penal Code as Law 19/2009 (also Port&Tetum), which defines some corruption-related crimes. These legal commitments, plus additional experience, have persuaded others to agree with La'o Hamutuk's February 2009 recommendation to enact a comprehensive Anti-corruption Law. The Prosecutor-General drafted a draft law (also Portuguese) which was tabled in Parliament in October 2010, sponsored by the members of the Timor-Leste chapter of GOPAC, the Group of Parliamentarians Against Corruption. On 17 December, GOPAC President Deputada Fernanda Borges spoke at a seminar on this draft law, which was also addressed by CAC Commissioner Aderito Soares, Prosecutor-General Ana Pessoa and other Members of Parliament.
Timor-Leste continues to do poorly in many international ratings about corruption and perceptions of corruption, including those by the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (score 10%, raking 29 of 32 lower middle income countries), Transparency International (score 2.5 of 10, ranking 127th among 178 countries) and the World Bank's Doing Business 2011 report (ranking 174 out of 183 in ease of doing business). We have a lot of work to.
On 22 February 2011, the Anti-Corruption Commission hosted an all-day session to help develop their strategic plan for the next three years. Presentations were given by La'o Hamutuk (English or Tetum, Luta Hamutuk (Tetum) and the Vice-Minister of Finance (English), among others.
On 1 June 2011, Committee C of the Parliament held hearings on the draft anti-corruption law, with testimony from prosecutors, judges, the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, La'o Hamutuk, Luta Hamutuk and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It became clear that the draft needs significant additions and revisions before it can be approved, and the Parliamentarians asked people to make written submissions suggesting concrete amendments by 15 June, and La'o Hamutuk subsequently made a submission (Tetum). After that, Committee C will convene a workshop to discuss the suggestions, and revise the law before reporting it out to the Parliamentary plenary for approval.
The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)