Fundasaun Mahein, 20 December 2013
Increased Weapons Purchases for the PNTL in 2014 are Problematic in Absence of Auditing and Oversight System
Mahein’s Voice report No. 66 examines the problematic nature of not having a competent auditing system to monitor and regulate the steady increase of weapons obtained by the PNTL on a yearly basis. While Fundasaun Mahein has written numerous reports highlighting the need for a weapon control system in Timor, this report will cover the topic with a specific emphasis on auditing.
This report discusses the need for a weapons control system in response to the government’s plan to purchase more weapons for the PNTL- Border Police Unit in 2014. Despite this plan, the general state budget for 2014 does not allocate any funds for the purchase of weapons for the PNTL- Border Police Unit. If the money is not allocated in Timor’s state budget, how does the government intend to pay for these weapons?
Previous reports published by Fundasaun Mahein detailed the controversy between the PNTL command and the Secretary of State for Security regarding weapons purchased from “PT”, a private company in Indonesia. Specifically, it was reported that in 2013, 75 new weapons were purchased for the PNTL from the PT company. However, it was soon discovered that many of these weapons were dysfunctional or had defects. In response to this, controversy surrounded the PNTL general commander and the Secretary of State for Security, both of whom blamed the other for making the ill-advised purchase.
To date, the PNTL does not have an armament system or auditing system by which to regulate the quality or quantity of weapons that the PNTL obtains. As a result, Fundasaun Mahein has suggested that the PNTL establish such a system to ensure responsible oversight of the PNTL’s armory. Fundasaun suggests that the government allow a public company to assume responsibility for monitoring the purchase of weapons for the government’s security and defense institutions.
It should be the PNTL and Secretary of State for Security’s responsibility to establish and uphold the proper legislation and regulations to ensure the legal procurement and use of the PNTL’s armament.
Policymakers should also keep other questions in mind when thinking about this issue. How many weapons are kept in the PNTL headquarters as reserve weapons? How many weapons are functional and how many weapons are dysfunctional? What should be done to fix or replace dysfunctional weapons and what steps can the PNTL take to ensure that less weapons malfunction in the future?
Fundasaun Mahein’s recommendations:
1. FM recommends to the Secretary of State for Security, as well as to the PNTL General commander, to review the PNTL’s armament policy and establish a management and administration system for PNTL armament. With this system in place, auditing and internal inspection activities will be more accurately and easily conducted.
2. FM recommends that a procurement system be put in place to fix the supply system used by the Secretary State for Security and the PNTL general commander. The need for such a system was established following the botched weapons purchase for the PNTL from the PT company.
3. FM recommends the creation of an annual auditing and monitoring system of the PNTL’s armament. This initiative should be undertaken by a committee comprised of the Ministry of Defense and Security, the Timor-Leste Human rights ombudsmen, the Secretary of State for Security, military departments, and Committee B of the National Parliament. This committee will monitor and report on the number and type of weapons in the PNTL, the functionality of these weapons, and the number of weapons actually currently possessed by PNTL members as opposed to being stored in the armory.
4. FM requests that an annual update be conducted to monitor the number of weapons used in training activities. FM’s monitoring uncovered that some weapons previously bought from the PT company in Indonesia were dysfunctional.
5. FM recommends that PNTL commanders implement PNTL discipline regulations in order to sanction officers who violate regulations, such as the unauthroized use of a weapon or loss of a weapon.
6. FM recommends that a PNTL weapons control system be formulated and enacted before any further weapons are purchased for the PNTL.
For more details please contact the following:
Director Fundasaun Mahein
Tlp: +670 7737 4222