Former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) will be expelled from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for his alleged involvement in the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.
The expulsion will be made official in a provisional Central Standing Committee which the DPP is to hold this evening.
The move came after a further scandal involving Chen came to light, when a picture was released by a talk show on the television station TVBS, which showed Chen Che-nan and former KRTC vice chairman Chen Min-hsien (陳敏賢) sitting together at a casino table in South Korea's Cheju Island on Nov. 2, 2002, Su said the DPP will deal with Chen Che-nan with "the harshest punishment under the highest standard" if he did involved in the scandal.
It is considered a breach of protocol for Taiwanese officials to travel to a foreign country without permission.
Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun said that Chen Che-nan might have violated the Public Service Act.
"The harshest punishment is to be expelled from the DPP. Any party member who violates the law or discipline or is dishonest to society will impact the DPP's image, and we have to do something about this situation," Su said. "We are deeply sorry [for the scandal]."
Su said the DPP established a panel two weeks ago to probe into Chen Che-nan's involvement in the KRTC scandal, and that a final investigation report will be released in the next two days.
Expressing concern that the scandal will have a negative impact on the DPP candidates' electoral outlook in December's local government elections, DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), also the chief of the DPP's central evaluation committee, said the DPP should take disciplinary action against Chen Che-nan as soon as possible if he was implicated in the case.
The DPP originally planned to deal with the issue in the Central Standing Committee meeting to be held next Wednesday.
However, to deal with the escalating scandal, the party decided to hold a provisional central standing committee meeting tonight at 9:30pm.
"It is unavoidable that a green forest will be infested by some pests. But the DPP will manage inappropriate affairs caused by some party members as quickly as possible and take responsibility," Su said.
After being questioned at the Kaohsiung Prosecutors' Office last night, Chen Che-nan was released on bail for NT$500,000.
In response to accusations made by a guest on the TVBS talk show who claimed that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was involved in the KRTC scandal because he had seen documents regarding importation of Thai laborers, Presidential Office Spokesman Chen Wen-tsung (陳文宗) said the accusation was far from reality.
The president had not seen such documents, the spokesman said.
"It is conventional procedure for the Executive Yuan to present all documents that the government has signed with other countries to the Presidential Office. The practice has existed since the former government was in power," the spokesman said.
Chen Wen-tzung said the presidential office got such documents from the Executive Yuan each year -- 78 pieces in 1999, 46 in 2000, 61 in 2001, 56 in 2002, 54 in 2003 and 60 last year.
However, as the government wished to simplify the approval procedure for documents sent from the Executive Yuan, the president did not see the documents mentioned in the TV talk show, he said.
The spokesman said that the documents were received by Chao Lin (趙麟), the director of the Presidential Office's bureau in charge of documents, and then sent by Chao to the deputy secretary-general of the office, Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成), who was then the manager of the president's office.
The spokesman added that the presidential office had transferred Chen Che-nan's case to the Control Yuan yesterday for investigation.
Meanwhile, Yu yesterday told the media that the president was not happy about Chen Che-nan's misconduct.
"It is illegal and improper for government employees to go abroad without asking for leave beforehand. The Presidential Office won't cover up his mistake," Yu said.
Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said the DPP should not be afraid that the investigation of alleged scandals will impact its year-end elections.
"Let it be what it should be. Let prosecutors finish their jobs," Hsieh said. "It is not time for us DPP people to worry about whether we will lose votes during the year-end elections because of this."
Hsieh made his remarks when fielding questions on the legislative floor yesterday.
Hsieh said that taking advantage of the alleged scandals to attack the DPP may only be the pan-blue camp's wishful thinking, because he had heard that things were not as simple as they seem.
"The alleged Kaohsiung MRT project scandal for instance, I have learned that many pan-blue lawmakers are also involved," Hsieh said. "Just leave prosecutors alone and let them finish their investigation."
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
People First Party Chairman James Soong (
"Canceling Chen Che-nan's party membership is merely a means to shift the focus, and the president should apologize for Chen's actions," Soong said. "The DPP government is corrupting so fast that it is astonishing to watch."
Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang and Mo Yan-chih
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