Elected as the inaugural Commissioner of CAC on 22 February 2010 by the National Parliament, Adérito de Jesus Soares accepted state responsibility that the people of Timor-Leste gave him with honour and prestige in serving his country.
Commissioner Adérito Soares accepted this great responsibility from the National Parliament, and with it, established CAC together with the two comrades he appointed: Deputy Commissioner José Antonio de Jesus das Neves and Deputy Commissioner Manuel Coutinho Bucar Corte Real. From a start of three commissioners in 2010, they grew CAC to its current total staff of 71 people.
The first action in Commissioner Soares’ mandate was to establish CAC’s vision of “a democratic State of Timor-Leste with a strong culture of rejecting corruption in the interest and prosperity of the people”, through the mission of “fighting corruption through prevention, education and investigation”.
Under his watch, CAC conducted several criminal investigations on corruption, and executed education and prevention programs that encompassed workshops involving students, community leaders, NGOs, veterans, religious leaders and public servants across the country.
In addition, CAC investigated certain high-level government officials for corruption crime indication. CAC received dispatches from the Minister of Public for 73 cases, and to date, we have investigated and completed the reports for 69 cases. We have held more than 100 public meeting or workshops across the country as part of education and public awareness campaigns. And we have concluded a number of technical reports, including a corruption perception survey in Timor-Leste and research into integrity in the Public Service.
Although facing many challenges, Commissioner Soares established effective working relationships with several state institutions in Timor-Leste, the government, National Parliament, media, and NGOs.
He connected CAC with anti-corruption agencies around the world and in our region, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and the United States, developing international links because he recognized corruption does not stop at a country’s borders.
Commissioner Adérito Soares together with his two deputy commissioners also worked actively with international agencies to develop programs to fight corruption in Timor-Leste – working with the UNODC, UNDP and FOTI-USAID in particular. Senior management and CAC officials also participated actively in-house and overseas conferences and trainings.
Even though CAC was a new institution, the Commissioner led a gathering of anti-corruption agencies from 29 countries in an international conference in July last year: the 18th Steering Group Meeting and 12th Regional Seminar, ADB-OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific in Dili. He then went on to represent the ADB-OECD and presented regional reports at the Conference of the State Parties of UNCAC (United Nations Convention on Anti-Corruption) in Panama in November 2013.
It is clear that good leadership during the first Commissioner’s mandate led CAC from a fledgling institution to one with a good and reputable name in Timor-Leste, as well as internationally. The task will now be for the new commissioner to continue this brilliant work into the future, with projects such as the asset declarations law, and a national strategic plan for anti-corruption on the cards.
Together, senior management has helped develop a young institution that has shown the people and the government its ability to fight corruption through working tireless and its industrious approach.
From recruitment of staff, to fortifying the institution, to the capacity building of staff and strengthening institutional cooperation domestically and internationally, under Commissioner Soares CAC has been built into a strong institution.
Based on his achievements over the last four years, every East Timorese should not say goodbye to Commissioner Adérito Soares, but instead remember how he has helped support an institution for the nation that will help secure its future.
The good work that CAC’s first commissioner achieved has also been accompanied by good memories and relationships with other institutions. It is these strengths that we hope will ensure people put their trust and hope in CAC to fight corruption crime in our beloved country, Timor-Leste.
We wish him well in his studies at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia.
Finally, Commissioner Soares’ message for the Timorese people is to remember that “CAC alone cannot rid Timor-Leste of corruption – every citizen must utilize their collective power fight against corruption”.
This message from Commissioner Soares should serve as a reminder to the people of their role in building the country. We now take this opportunity to say that: “every beginning has an end and every end is another new beginning!”
So, this is not a goodbye Commissioner Soares, because we know your legacy will always be reflected in CAC’s strong future. (*)