Dili – In 2016, the Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC) conducted several investigations of corruption cases. The investigations highlighted high risk of corruption in several areas and institutions, such as procurement, internal control, quality control and financial management regarding the payments of taxation and fines.
CAC’s investigations show that corruption is a widespread phenomenon in public services and that it gives the opportunity to public servants and their associates to benefit from illicit conducts.
The area where the highest risk level has been identified is the procurement sector. Many public contracts were awarded through single source procedure as emergency contract. However, the requirements for emergency awarding were often based on subjective evaluations and not on objective factors. Moreover, through single source, contracts have been awarded to firms without the required expertise.
Procurement officials were not directly involved in procurement frauds. Investigations highlighted the intervention of high-ranked officials in many single source procedures. Contracts have been awarded to firms not registered in Timor-Leste and without the required certifications.
The Commission found that the internal control area is also highly exposed to corruption. Implementation of programs, activities and reports often do not reflected the reality. Orders are often disregarded and an abuse of sickness leave has been identified. Civil servants are often not properly registered, with cases of double registrations that allowed some officials to receive double salary. Also, directors and chief of units often assume more than one position (director, finance and logistic). The execution of budget of diplomatic missions is not integrated in the national system of budget control. This gave the opportunity to Ministries with representatives abroad to execute budget under minimal control.
Also, budget is often executed disregarding working needs and payment invoices are constantly falsified. It is also common the use of fuel vouchers for private needs or the falsification of “trip-tickets”; public officials can easily take advantage from the lack of control in this area.
High levels of corruption have also been identified in the area of quality control. Projects are often not completed or properly implemented. However, firms manage to receive 100% of payments.
Data regarding veterans are not comprehensively verified, resulting in a high number of people receiving undue benefits.
High-ranked officials often approved projects without any field visit or a prior viability study to justify the rationality of the project.
Serious problems were identified also in the supply of goods unfit for use: equipment was bought without verifying its compatibility.
Heavy equipment was also bought and never used as the required technology was not available in Timor or because of the lack of capacity in using it.
Tax and fines payment systems have also been identified as highly corruption exposed sectors. In several cases payments were not channeled through the official bank account, but made directly to the directorate to bank accounts not registered in the Treasury. Database of taxpayers was not updated and payment receipts were not always issued.
Graphic 6: Numbers of cases per area