Subject: E Timor Government attacks Ombudsman investigation

http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/200908/2649715.htm?desktop 

Radio Australia

E Timor Government attacks Ombudsman investigation

Stephanie March

Last Updated: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 20:26:00 +1000

East Timor's Government has attacked the country's ombudsman over an investigation by his office which found the Finance and Justice Ministers have abused their powers.

In a statement, Goverment spokesman Agio Pereira says that the report on the investigation was a politically motivated attack.

"There was no merit or fact to support the conclusions," Mr Pereira said.

Mr Pereira's statement notes the Ombudsman, Sebastiao Ximenes, was elected to office by the Fretilin Opposition when they were in government.

Abuses alleged

The report says the Justice and Finance Ministers abused thier powers and breached the law in relation to contract issued to a construction company to build a prison wall.

The report calls for Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to take action against the two ministers, and for the prosecutor general to further investigate his findings.

The Opposition is calling for the Prime Minister to sack Justice Minister Lucia Lobato and Finance Minsiter Emilia Pires.

"In other cases Mr Gusmao has not hesitated to order action to be taken against low-ranking police officers and civil servants subject to nothing more than allegations of misconduct," Fretilin parliamentary leader Aniceto Gutteres said.

"However we doubt he will take an action against these ministers because it would further undermine his already fragile four-party coalition," he said.

"His anti-corruption statements are nothing but empty rhetoric."

Legal process continues

Despite Mr Pereira denouncing the Ombudsman's report in the statement, in an email to <http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/>Radio Australia Mr Pereira said in relation to the allegations made in the report, the Prime Minister respects the legal process of investigation.

He says the Ombudsman's investigation is one step in the process, and Ombudsman Ximenes must forward his allegations to the prosecutor general for further investigation.

Attempts by Radio Australia to contact the Ombudsman for a response have been unsuccessful.


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