Fundasaun Mahein, 25 September 2014
Irregularities in the Promotion System of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) 2012
In 2010, Fundasaun Mahein (FM) published its first report concerning PNTL promotions, in response to the concerns of some PNTL members. Many exhibited frustration with irregularities taking place during the promotion process. The situation at the time was quite bad, particularly inside the PNTL, as many PNTL members expressed their dissatisfaction by disrespecting their superiors and the disciplinary rules of the institution.
The 2012 superior promotion process was a concern for some PNTL members because of the irregularities that took place in the promotion process. Even though promotion protocol has been better established in the past two years, the results have not yet been forgotten and, rather, continue to PNTL members to this day. Some members do not exercice discipline in their services because they are still disatisfied with the promotion process conducted two years ago.
Regarding their frustrations, some members presented a petition to the Prime Minister as well as the Ministry of Defense and Security. The majority of the petitioning individuals are veterans. During the socialization component of the promotion process, it was stated that priority would be given to veterans, and the petitioners do not feels as if this promised was honored. Other members expressed frustration with the promotion results, because management offered no justification as to why these individuals were not promoted, despite their sufficient and high scores during the commission’s evaluation.
One particular case that took place in this promotion cycle and drew the attention of FM was that of Chief Sergeant Sanda do Ceo Maria Costa Bossa. She resigned from the PNTL because the results of the promotion process made her lose motivation in her work. During the promotion process, she was promoted to assistant inspector, but the promotion commission then demoted her to the rank of chief sergeant less than three months later. This incident has caused FM to question the promotion protocol used by the leadership of the PNTL.
Finally, some other members have left their posts but are still receiving salaries in normal fashion, even though they have received a call to attention from their superiors. FM’s monitoring also found that some PNTL members lack discipline and fail to respect the command hierarchy of the PNTL. One underlying reason, they say, is that some of their superiors received low scores on the commission’s evaluation exam but were still promoted. These issues will collectively cause the institution to suffer. Furthermore, if unaddressed, the discipline of PNTL members will continue to damage the institution and lower the motivation of PNTL personnel in their services.
Summary of Recommendations
1. FM recommends that the PNTL General Commander review and evaluate each district commander, unit, and department in regards to police process. This evaluation should include a measurement of police merit, service, dedication, and experience. These departments should also share information with the General Commander regarding challenges that they face in terms of providing services in their districts, units, or internal departments.
2. FM also recommends that the government review the promotion process of PNTL, because the government has recently selected some officers for promotion. This is not realistic or effective, because the government does not work inside the PNTL and, thus, is not well acquainted with its institutional processes. The monitoring process within the PNTL has achieved adequacy in its system of promotion and should continue to work internally. The PNTL should promote its members on the basis of experience and merit, and not with regard to any political or private interest.
3. Lastly, FM urges that this issue of PNTL promotion not be politicized. Instead, home rule should be given to the PNTL to conduct its own promotions, based on criteria that examine candidates’ dedication, experience and merit.
For more details on this issue please see the following:
Executive Director of FM
Phone (+670) 7737-4222 or (+670) 77561184