In the week leading up to International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, the Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC) held four seminars in Manufahi, Ainaro, Ermera and Liquica.
Over 300 people attended the seminars, from all walks of life including local leaders, business owners, public servants, and students.
Held under the topic of ‘Integrity as the determining factor in preventing and fighting corruption’, the seminars are an important way of reaching out to the community to improve their understanding of corruption.
Corruption denies a country’s citizens access to vital services. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that every year, $40 billion is lost through corrupt activities – money that could instead have been used to build roads or educate future generations.
Visiting Ermera and Liquica, Deputy Commissioner for Education and Research, Mr Jose Antonio Neves said the first step in fighting corruption in Timor-Leste is by improving the knowledge of its citizens.
“CAC alone cannot fight corruption – it requires the eyes, ears and hearts of every Timorese citizen,” Deputy Commissioner Neves said.
“That’s why we will continue to hold these seminars across every district to raise the awareness of the people on corruption issues, how it has a pervasive impact upon their lives, and what they can do to fight it.”
CAC Executive Secretary, Mr. Alexandre Faustino Freitas, said that the enthusiastic attendance from the local communities in Manufahi and Ainaro showed how much citizens wanted to play a part in fighting corruption – particularly by students.
“Preventing and fighting corruption has the potential to be the new patriotic act for younger generations, so it was fantastic to see so many students attending the seminars this week,” Mr. Freitas said.
Local administrators are encouraged to discuss with CAC future opportunities for engagement with their communities. CAC regularly holds workshops and seminars with public officials and the general public throughout Timor-Leste.
To date, around 10 per cent of the Timor-Leste public service has received anti-corruption training from CAC, and nearly 7,500 people have attended seminars held by CAC this year. (*)