Timor-Leste National Parliament has united to take another step forward in the fight against organized crime and corruption in Timor-Leste with the tabling of a draft law to track down and prevent money laundering. Former Prime Minister and FRETILIN MP, Estanislau da Silva, said that tabling the draft law signed by MPs representing all government and opposition parties in the national parliament shows that there is consensus amongst MPs of all political groupings to combat organized crime and corruption.
“As our petroleum wealth has grown, we have seen all types of businesses move in, in varied sectors such as hotels and construction. We have also seen an increase in areas such as gambling and human trafficking. There is no doubt that organized crime has infiltrated our society not only in these areas, but also that money laundering has become a big business in Timor-Leste. Authorities in friendly countries that have a lot of trade and immigration with Timor-Leste are concerned about money laundering, especially by organized crime.
“Our criminal investigation and prosecutorial authorities have made it very clear that they will be unable to effectively combat white collar crimes such as corruption, or trans-national commercial or corporate crimes without an effective anti money laundering legal framework in place. So, we took the initiative to get in place and tabled this draft. I am very happy that it has received backing across all political parties in our parliament. It is a good step forward to fighting trans-national crime,” Da Silva told journalists.
He added however, “we only ask that, unlike much legislation that has been sitting around waiting to be dealt with, this must be dealt swiftly, because our crime fighting authorities need them quickly to act against money laundering which is already a huge problem in our country. This has been a rare but vital consensus reached amongst all parties in the parliament. We hope there more of it on such issues of national interest.”