Dili, 13 March 2011
Gusmao MPs trying to shut down criminal trial of Deputy PM and Minister
Timor-Leste politicians allied to the Gusmao government are trying to
shut down criminal prosecution of two ministers accused of official
misconduct and corruption, FRETILIN’s parliamentary spokesperson and MP
Jose Teixeira said today.
Mr Teixeira said two district courts have separately summoned Deputy
Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres and Minister for State Administration
Arcanjo Leite to answer criminal charges brought by the Prosecutor
“The trials cannot proceed unless parliament lifts the ministers’
constitutional immunity from prosecution, as the courts have
requested,” Mr Teixeira said.
“However Parliament’s committee on ethics, controlled by MPs belonging
to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s AMP coalition, recommended that
parliament not suspend them,” he said.
“Government MPs then succeeded in deferring a parliamentary vote on
whether to suspend the pair until 5 April 2011.
“Voting will be by secret ballot and there is little doubt the majority
will refuse to lift immunity. This will be another nail in the coffin
for the rule of law in Timor-Leste.”
He said the accused ministers would automatically lose their immunity if
Prime Minister Gusmao removed them from their posts, “but this
self-proclaimed corruption fighter appears unwilling to risk further
infighting within his coalition by doing so”.
The Dili District Court has summoned Deputy Prime Minister Guterres to
be tried on charges of corruptly using his official position to
financially advantage his wife.
Baucau District Court has summoned Minister for State Administration
Arcanjo Leite to face trial on charges of willful damaging
Mr Teixeira said government MPs were promoting a culture of impunity for
high officials and their connections and weakening the justice system by
slandering the Prosecutor General’s office, which includes local and
foreign jurists, with unfounded accusations of political bias.
For further information contact Jose Teixeira MP on +670 728 7080
Level 3, 110 Kippax St,
Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
Ph: +61 2 9211 4164; Fax: +61 2 9211 1407
ABN 63 050 096 976
promoting democracy, social justice and environmental sustainability