From February 2011 through March 2014, Casals & Associates, a DynCorp International company, implemented a technical assistance program to promote accountability and curb corruption in Timor-Leste under the sponsorship of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
DI conducted its anti-corruption work in Timor-Leste in close partnership with the central government and local civil society organizations. Program support included:
- Specialized training courses and mentoring support and coaching to enhance the investigative, prosecutorial and oversight functions of corruption-fighting institutions (e.g. Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Prosecutor General, Office of the Inspector General, National Parliament and others)
- Technical assistance activities to strengthen the legal framework against corruption
- Guidance to design and put into place corruption-prevention mechanisms
- Advanced research to assess the root causes and effects of corruption in the public sector in Timor-Leste
- Civic education campaigns in coordination with civil society organizations to increase the understanding of corruption, motivate the public to report corruption-related crimes, and push for the adoption of corrective measures
- In-class and on-the job training methodologies to promote the use of investigative reporting
DI accompanied the local Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC) in its first years of institutional growth by assisting in the design of strategic plans, setting up internal operating procedures and forming cadres of qualified professionals to effectively pursue its mission with corruption investigations, corruption prevention and public outreach and research.
To build CAC’s criminal investigations practice, DI designed and implemented a comprehensive training program which covered more than 20 subjects. The program complemented these activities with continued mentoring and on-the-job-training support in connection with investigations dispatched by the Office of the Prosecutor General.
In corruption prevention, DI developed reference manuals and coordinated with other state institutions to reduce opportunities for corruption, such as developing single entity for business registration, called SERVE. This included a dialogue with state agencies, bilateral cooperation agencies, and private sector representatives which culminated in the design of a three-year Corruption Prevention Plan. Most importantly, DI nurtured a core group at CAC to undertake similar projects in the future, which would require little to no involvement of external advisors.
In cooperation with the National Parliament, DI also provided significant support to revamping anti-money laundering legislation, which was approved unanimously in Parliament on July 12, 2013. The revised law included amendments proposed by DI to streamline the investigation and prosecution of money laundering and associated crimes. DI also advised the Council of Ministers on the creation of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the entity responsible for assisting law enforcement agencies in fighting money laundering and other financial crimes.
Key Aspects in Fighting Corruption in Timor-Leste
One of the key aspects of DI’s anti-corruption work in Timor-Leste was its focus on local ownership and sustainability. DI motivated local counterparts in government and civil society to actively participate in program design and execution. As a result of this approach, the local Anti-Corruption Commission and others are now capable of conducting their main aspects of their mandate with little or no external assistance.