Sun, Oct 30, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chen expresses 'shame' over corruption

TAKING RESPONSIBILITYAlthough he said that he knew nothing about his aide's trip, the president still apologized his behalf at a campaign rally in Ilan

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday offered an apology over the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal, vowing that he will never allow the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to follow in the corrupt footsteps of the former government.

Chen made the remarks while on the campaign trail in Ilan County.

"I feel sorry and ashamed about Chen Che-nan's (陳哲男) integrity problem. On behalf of the government, the DPP and myself, I will assume the biggest responsibility and apologize to the nation, former DPP Chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) and long-time supporters of the DPP," the president said.

The president said that Chen Che-nan, as deputy secretary-general of the presidential office at the time of the trip in 2002, should not have gone abroad with businessmen and should not have gone to a casino.

The president offered his apologies for being unable to prevent such misconduct from occurring.

"[Chen Che-nan] went to South Korea after getting off work on a Friday night. His plane's departure was in the middle of the night. I had no idea about his schedule. He neither reported to me nor asked me for leave beforehand," the president said.

The president restated that he has nothing to do with the KRTC scandal and that he hasn't seen the documents regarding the importing of Thai labors. "If I am found to be involved in this case, or any other corruption then I will step down," he said. "It's the deliberate intention of the opposition to drag me into this case."

The president said that the DPP government has investigated many financial scandals during its tenure -- the former Chung Shing Commercial Bank (中興銀行) chairman Wang Yu-yun (王玉雲), Liu Sung-fan (劉松藩) and other culprits convicted of stealing money from banks -- and they were all sentenced.

"They are all Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians. The KMT can have this kind of corruption, but the DPP is not allowed to follow suit," he added.

Chen Che-nan announced late on Friday night his decision to quit the DPP amid demands from within the party that he be kicked out.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) earlier yesterday said the party's Central Standing Committee was to meet later last night to discuss disciplinary measures against Chen Che-nan, regardless of his decision to quit the party.

The investigative panel formed by the DPP would also release its report on the case during the meeting, Su said.

He said that as a party of ideals and discipline, the DPP will not tolerate any illicit conduct by its members.

Saying the DPP should reform, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday also reminded the public not to come to any hasty conclusions regarding Chen Che-nan before the KRTC investigation is complete.

Presidential Office Spokesman Chen Wen-tsung (陳文宗) also urged KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday to ask KMT legislators to review the president's list of Control Yuan nominees as soon as possible.

The Control Yuan has had no members since Feb. 1 as a result of the pan-blue camp's refusal to review the member nomination list recommended by the president.

"The presidential office has transferred the Chen Che-nan case to the Control Yuan for investigation. Ma should push the review procedure through so that the Control Yuan can resume its work," the spokesman said.

Ma yesterday said "it's impossible to believe that the president knew nothing about the whereabouts of the top official in his office... if the DPP government does not apologize, there is no future for the party."

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