I. Job Title:          Customs Legal Compliance Adviser

II. Terms of Reference


III. Application procedure

Please visit our website at www.mof.gov.tl   and go to ‘Employment Opportunities’ to learn about our recruitment process and your application requirements including how to address your application.

Applications need to be addressed to the Head of Human Resources, at email address, jobs@mof.gov.tl , no later than 17:00 hours Timor-Leste time on Tuesday, the 19th day of May, 2015.

Applications should include (a) a covering letter (b) a detailed resume of no more than 7 pages and (c) Response to the Selection Criteria.

All applicants must answer clearly the selection criteria, that can be found at https://www.mof.gov.tl/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/APPLICATION_PROCEDURE_MoF-Revised-80213.doc delineating how they have met the requirements. We do not expect that you would just cut and paste from your resume but rather explain concisely and succinctly how you have met these competences, possibly providing brief examples etc.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Previous applicants need not apply.

Terms of Reference

Job Title:                    Customs Legal Compliance Adviser (International)

Objective                    To support the Directorate General Customs by providing opinions and advice on all customs compliance and legal matters and strengthening staff conformity with the legal framework through capacity development activities.

Reporting to:              Director General Customs

Counterpart staff       National Directors Customs (3)

Classification:             SPA/A3 Specialised Professional

TOR Reference:         March 2015, Approved by DG Customs

Duration:                    Up to 2 years, subject to performance and funding availability.

Location:                    Ministry of Finance (MoF), Dili, Timor-Leste

I. Selection Criteria


·      Degree, post graduate and/or qualification/s relevant to Customs

  • At least 10 years experience in Customs environment in an area related to legislative and regulatory compliance, with specific knowledge of Customs Codes, World Customs Organization related conventions and the Harmonised Tariff (including interpretative rules).
  • Experience providing legal compliance and operational advice in relation to Customs
  • Knowledge of civil law and/or common law systems and how to translate legal text into operational procedures.
  • Ability to translate technical legal terms into easily understood terminology.
  • Ability to train and mentor middle managers
  • Fluent in English language skills, written and spoken and a willingness to learn Tetun.
  • Strong communication, writing and facilitation skills
  • Understanding of approaches to capacity development in a developing country context.
  • Ability to model the attitudes and behaviours required, including cultural awareness, openness, cooperation and teamwork, transparency, accountability and a customer service attitude.


  • Knowledge of Customs operations in a developing country context.

·        Previous capacity development or teaching experience

·        Knowledge of one official language (Portuguese or Tetun) or Bahasa an advantage

·        Experience undertaking legal translations from English to Portuguese and vice versa

II. Background

The Ministry of Finance of Timor-Leste (MoF) is the central body of the Government responsible for drafting, executing, coordinating and assessing the policies defined and approved by the Council of Ministers, for the areas of annual planning and monitoring, budget and finance.  It is mandated to undertake functions related to macroeconomic policy (in collaboration with the Central Bank) and to propose policies and draft laws and regulations on tax and non-tax revenues.  MoF is under the responsibility of the Minister of Finance, and carries out its responsibilities through central services integrated in the direct administration of the State.

The key responsibilities of the Customs Directorate include to:

The Directorate-General of Customs (DGC) is responsible for administering and collecting customs taxes and fees upon entering the national territory including:

(a)           Exerting control over commodities and means of transportation that enter the national territory and over places where commodities under fiscal action are stored, to collect  government revenue and to protect the community by maintaining border security destination to commodities upon customs clearance;

(b)          Regulating the customs regimes applicable to the movement of people and assets, in terms of entering, staying, transiting or leaving the customs territory, and look after their application;

(c)           Maintaining permanent collaboration with other national services and bodies, as well as with relevant international agencies within the scope of customs;

The Customs Directorate requires the assistance of a Legal Adviser to support the ambitious reform agenda of the MoF. The MoF Strategic Plan and the Key Performance Indicators within the MoF 5 Year Plan guide the reform agenda in the Legal Office and will be the basis for the Legal Adviser Technical Work Plan.

The primary role of the  Customs Legal Compliance Adviser will be to support the DGC and MoF in the provision of technical and operational legal advice relating specifically to Customs issues.

The Customs Directorate reform program is currently supported by three other Customs specialists (International), who are working on the reform process. This process is led by the Senior Customs Adviser. The  Customs Legal Compliance Adviser will take direction from the Senior Customs Adviser with regard to reform issues.

There is a requirement to assist the development of the senior staff within the Directorate to develop a sound understanding of the requirement to make decisions in a lawful manner and to ensure that senior managers develop the skills to interpret Customs rules and to apply them with sound reasoning and to maintain a record of these decisions.

III. Scope of Work


Performance Indicator

1.      Support the Director General (DG), National Directors and the Adviser Reform team to review all legal and compliance matters impacting the operations and administration of the Directorate General Customs (DGC).

·         Advice provided is specific, relevant to the context, accurate and timely

·         DG satisfaction with quality of advice

2.      Through the DG, support the Legal Office to review proposed legal instruments that may impact DGC in advance of their approval:

a.  To detect any possible irregularity

b.  For administrative or financial implications that are of possible concern to the DGC

c.  To refer matters for further attention eg to other Ministry’s of the Government.

·         Number of Laws & legal instruments reviewed

·         Number of matters referred for further attention

·         Timeliness of response

3.      Assist the development of an Appeal process for importers and ensure that terms of reference are instituted and maintained.

·         Development of the Appeal process

·         Appeals dealt with in a timely manner

·       Number of Appeals processed

4.      Prepare draft proposals, legal instruments, opinions and other documents relevant to the law, customs operations and compliance matters, including technical Customs Notices and Standard Operating Procedures.

·     Number of drafts provided

·     Number of  Public Notices developed

·     Number of Standard Operating Procedures developed

·     DG level of satisfaction with quality of drafts, timeliness and relevance to context

5.      Support the strengthening of the capacity of the DGC leadership and staff through a range of modalities taking into account language, culture and other relevant factors.

·     Development of Senior Management skills to interpret rules and make written response to support decisions.

·    Existence of written records of decisions by National Directors relating to legal issues

·    Enhancement of customs leadership and staff knowledge and skills in matters related to compliance.

·    Review of Internal Legal Unit conducted and report provided

·    Level of head of office satisfaction with transfer of knowledge & skills

6.      Develop a collaborative and collegial approach with other Customs Advisers to ensure the outcome for the DGC is effectively and efficiently optimised.

·    Effective and cooperative working relationships

·    Outcome for DGC is optimised

7.      Assist in the development and implementation of the MoF Fiscal Reform work program and activities, including the identification of policy, legislative, system and procedural changes required.

·         Level of input and responsiveness to Reform initiatives.

8.      Perform such other functions, legal and technical in nature, as requested by the DG

·     Level of initiative and responsiveness to requests.

IV. Key Deliverables

·         In accordance with the performance indicators listed above.

·         Within four weeks of commencement, develop an Activity Work Plan that is consistent with the relevant activities and key performance indicators of the Ministry’s 5 Year Plan and submitted to the DG Customs;

·         Quarterly Progress Reports to the DG Customs, against the agreed Work Plan

·         End of Assignment report to the DG Customs no later than 10 working days prior to the end of contract

·         Establishment of DGC internal Appeals process for importers

·         Conduct a review of the internal Customs Legal Unit role for DGC.

·         Development of new technical Public Notices, SOPs etc identified during reform porcess

·         Development of Senior Management skills to interpret rules and make written response to support decisions.

V. Performance Evaluation

The performance of the Advisor will be appraised and evaluated by the DG Customs using the Performance Appraisal System put in place and monitored by the Directorate-General for Corporate Services, Ministry of Finance.  This process will include a probation review within three (3) months of the commencement of the contract, regular reporting, ongoing workplace communications and annual performance appraisal.  Key performance indicators are in place for all areas within the Ministry, and the incumbent’s work will be contributing to the achievement of the priorities as set out in their TOR and in the Ministry’s Five Year Plan.