Thank you and good morning everyone. I am pleased to be here to help kick off this important anti-corruption training.
I would like to extend our thanks to U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan from the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Bennett from the District of Utah.
Thank you to Maria Sarmento, Executive Director at FIU and the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG), who will also provide training at this conference. Thank you, CAC Commissioner Dr. Sergio Hornai, for making anticorruption training a priority within the CAC.
I’m glad that so many of you could make it today. Such a large turnout demonstrates how seriously Timor-Leste is taking this issue, and how important your jobs are when it comes to investigating and prosecuting corruption. This training is just the latest example of ongoing support from the American people to help strengthen capacity in Timor-Leste’s justice sector. We endeavor to provide valuable training on how to effectively combat and prosecute corruption crimes and financial crimes.
Since 2009, the U.S. Embassy’s Resident Legal Advisor has collaborated with Timor-Leste’s justice and law enforcement sectors, with the shared goal of making the rule of law a reality for all Timorese citizens. Among the greatest threats to the rule of law is corruption, which tends to occur when officials place their personal interests above the public interest. Public corruption and related financial crimes are corrosive crimes that diminish the public’s faith and trust in government and elected leaders. As investigators, you are often the first line of defense against corruption. This is a vitally important responsibility. To succeed in your mission, you need to utilize all the tools available to you to gather the necessary evidence that will support the appropriate charges and obtain a conviction in the courts.
Anti-corruption legislation is still pending in Timor-Leste. We hope that it passes soon so that you can have the additional tools you need to investigate and prosecute these types of crimes. In the meantime, this training will highlight the existing tools at your disposal. I sincerely hope you can take what you learn here and put it to use in your current anti-corruption investigations and prosecutions. There is always more to learn and I applaud your efforts to seek further professional development.
I look forward to hearing about how this experience will benefit your organizations and the people of Timor-Leste.
Thank you for the work you do every day on behalf of the citizens of Timor-Leste.