Monday, 26 April 2010

Speech by H.E. The Minister of Foreign Affairs during the International Seminar on " Impact of Corruption on National Development of Timor-Leste"

H.E. The Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Zacarias da Costa

Sua Excelência Senhor Presidente interino do Parlamento Nacional, Dr Vicente Guterres

Sua Excelência Senhor Presidente do Tribunal de Recursos, Dr Claudio Ximenes

Sua Excelência Senhora Procuradora Geral, Dra Ana Pessoa Pinto

Sua Excelência Senhor Presidente da Comissão C do Parlamento Nacional, Dr. Manuel Tilman

Distintos Deputados do Parlamento Nacional

Excelências, colegas membros do governo,

Excelências Senhores Embaixadores

Exmo Senhor Provedor dos D.H.CJ

Exmo Senhor Inspector Geral

Exmo senhores representantes das Agencias, Fundos e Programas das Nações Unidas

Magnífico Reitor da UNTL

Senhores convidados

Senhoras e Senhores

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is very happy and indeed proud to host this illustrious International Conference on Anti-Corruption.

I welcome you all to this debate on a topic that is of the utmost importance to the development of our society, and let me congratulate the Commission C for organizing this important conference.

Tackling corruption is a priority for the 4th Constitutional government. This criminal practice not only deprives our citizens of badly needed resources that belong to all, but is also a form of injustice benefiting the very few to the detriment of most.

Corruption tends to form tentacles of influence that undermine the authority and credibility of the State, weakening its effectiveness and undermining the trust of citizens in public institutions.

As a signal of our commitment to eradicating this type of criminality, the National Parliament has already ratified the United Nations Convention on anti-Corruption and has sworn in the new Commissioner of the independent Anti-Corruption Commission.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also preparing Agreements with neighboring countries on mutual judicial assistance in penal matters in order to facilitate cooperation between different Courts of Law and also cooperation agreements with Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong-Kong on money laundering. The Ministry is also ready to submit, for the approval of the Council of Ministers, a Draft Law on International Judicial Cooperation on Penal Matters, which later will sent to the National Parliament.

The aim of this Law is threefold: To allow the penal courts of Timor-Leste to cooperate with courts of other countries; to promote cooperation with the International Criminal Court - ICC, in The Hague; and finally to implement the conventions ratified by the Members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, promoting judicial cooperation.

The Government has also adopted a police on prevention of corruption which has been coordinate by the office of Vice Prime Minister Mario Carrascalao. I’m please to say that there will be a presentation on this matter from the office of the Vice Prime Minister Mario Carrascalao, and you will have the opportunity of been informed about the extent of this policy

These legal instruments will help our courts not only in the fight against corruption in Timor-Leste, but also in the fight against several types of transnational crimes, including money laundering and human trafficking.

Much remains to be done in the area of prevention activities in educating our society on the perils of corruption and the injustice of illegal income distribution.

It is therefore a matter of the utmost importance that we embrace, with a sense of urgency and determination, the eradication of corruption and transnational crime. I wish you well in your endeavors and welcome you all, once again, to this conference.