Subject: East Timor appoints corruption commissioner



East Timor appoints corruption commissioner

Sara Everingham reported this story on

Saturday, February 6, 2010 08:21:00

ELIZABETH JACKSON: East Timor's new anticorruption commissioner says he faces a huge task to root out corruption in his country.

Numerous corruption allegations have been levelled against various members of the Government in East Timor. President Jose Ramos-Horta's concerned corruption is short-changing some of the most vulnerable people in the country.

Sara Everingham reports.

SARA EVERINGHAM: It's almost as though Aderito Soares feels he's carrying the weight of East Timor on his shoulders.

ADERITO SOARES: Exactly, I mean this is a huge task. There are such a great exception from public.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Last week he was voted by parliament as East Timor's first anticorruption commissioner. The human rights lawyer says the commission's success is crucial for political stability in his country.

ADERITO SOARES: If you have government very corrupted, I mean they will totally breach all these basic rights of people, such as education and health and others.

So I think this is something that we can put in the context of helping government to deliver in a proper way to deliver the policy to reach out, to reach the poor, to reach the marginal.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The new commission has generated a huge amount of debate among East Timorese. The young nation is still fragile; it's one of the poorest in the world; Australia is a major donor.

East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta's concerned too much of the East Timor's annual Budget is being wasted, not reaching those who need it.

JOSE RAMOS HORTA: In view of the numerous reports of corruption of waste, mismanagement, we wonder how much of that 85 per cent Budget execution has trickled down to the benefit of the people in the rural areas, to the poor.

If a road maintenance or repair cost $250,000 and yet very little or none was done; if a computer for a government office, a government official supposed to cost only $1000 dollars and yet the government pay $3,000, $4,000 for it?

SARA EVERINGHAM: Corruption is a potent political issue in east Timor and numerous allegations are made. The new commissioner will be under pressure to pursue high-profile convictions. He says education and prevention are also needed. East Timor's Opposition Fretilin Party doubts the Government has it.

The vice-president Arsenio Bano.

ARSENIO BANO: We have a government that are very specialised in doing some painting. Like always talk nicely, but we don't see it in action.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Aderito Soares says given time the commission can succeed. He'll be sworn in next week. He knows the people of East Timor will be watching.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Sara Everingham reporting.

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