Timor-Leste’s Customs Operations:
Timorese national security has integrated national and global characteristics, and exists through the efforts of inter-ministerial cooperation. To meet its objectives of national security, the state promotes development through integrated action on national defense, internal security, and civil protections via the Integrated National Security System (SISN).
The principles of the SISN are founded in this core ideology: SISN must be multi-sectorial, multidisciplinary, and inter-ministerial, and those who engage in the system alongside the collective people of Timor-Leste must work wholly for the permanent purposes of national security and utilize the resources at hand efficiently. In responding to national security threats and risks, the system requires an integrated action plan from all units and government bodies engaged in integrated security, including the F-FDTL, PNTL, National Intelligence Service, Civil Protection Authority, Fire Brigade Corps, Immigration Services, Civil Security, Customs Services, and District Councils for security and quarantine services.
However, FM monitoring has shown that serious gaps exist in this integrated security service, wherein Timor-Leste’s security checkpoints for Customs services have been notably unsecure through multiple scandals and mishaps. Most particularly, Customs Services has shown a particular lack of effort in monitoring and tracking migration of visitors and citizens through airport and border security checkpoints.
In May of 2016, FM reported on a number of recent irregularities in customs operations committed by customs officers. Imports were allowed within Timorese borders without rigorous inspection or control, and there have been several cases of illegal imports disappearing or the customs services failing to properly levy taxes and financial burdens on improperly imported goods, costing the Timorese government hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This Mahein nia Lian report identifies in greater detail the lack of proper management of Timor-Leste’s border entry-points, detailing the risks and losses these oversights present to the Timorese government and people. Unless these failures of the national Customs operations are handled, Timor-Leste will continue to face financial loss and security risks from ineffective customs checkpoints.
FM recommends that:
1. The Ministry of Finance must strengthen its custom services, particularly in the oversight of imports and exports through customs checkpoints in the national airport, port, and border checkpoints.
2. The Inter-Ministerial Committee for Security must make a full assessment for the needs of forensic services placements at the port, airport and border checkpoints, and the Committee must also strengthen coordination between SISN institutions and integrated posts.
For more details on this issue, please contact:
Executive Director of FM
Phone: +670 78316075 or 7756 1184