Thu, Oct 05, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Lien abused presidential fund, DPP lawmakers say

LEGISLATIVE QUESTIONS During his four years as the vice president, Lien Chan spent more than NT$17 million from a fund earmarked for the president, legislators said

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers accused former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰), who is also a former vice president, of having illegally used a presidential fund.

"The presidential fund was not supposed to be used by Lien Chan, who was then the vice president, but he spent NT$17.25 million [US$521,000] from 1996 to 2000," DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said in the legislature yesterday.

"During his four years as vice-president, Lien Chan provided no receipts for his expenses. Why was the Ministry of Audit not aware of this illegality?" Kuan asked at a legislative question-and-answer session yesterday.

Auditor-General Su Chen-ping (蘇振平) attended the session to answer questions about the nation's final account statement for the 2005 fiscal year.

Su told Kuan that it was a violation of the regulations to claim reimbursements from the fund without providing receipts, and added that the ministry would look into the case.

But later yesterday, when KMT legislators Lin Yi-shih (林益世) and Alex Fai (費鴻泰) asked Su to explain whether Lien had been involved in any "irregularities," Su said "No."

Su said that Lien's use of the fund was contained in the final account statement which had been approved by the legislature.

"There is no illegality," Su said.

Later on, while asked to comment on Su's response to the KMT lawmakers, Kuan said that Su should not use different criteria for Lien and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) said that she would file a lawsuit against Su for dereliction of duty if he refused to investigate the allegations against Lien.

Prosecutors are investigating claims that Chen pocketed state funds by using fake receipts for reimbursements from the president's personal allowance fund, some of which were from personal expenses of members of the first family. Chen has denied the allegation, saying that he had neither embezzled money from the fund nor used false receipts for reimbursement.

He says the fund has been used solely for tasks related to confidential diplomatic missions, which meant that no receipts were available.

Lien didn't respond directly to the DPP lawmakers' accusations yesterday, but a press release issued by his office denied that Lien had used the state fund when he was vice president.

The DPP lawmakers also accused Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) of embezzling state funds, and provided some examples.

"On June 13, 1961, Chiang Kai-shek used NT$4,560 from state funds to buy milk powder imported from abroad. On June 14, 1963, he used NT$1,676 to buy medicines, pickles and cigarettes, among other items. On Sept. 14, 1973, NT$18,265 was used by Chiang for his grandson Chiang Hsiao-yung's (蔣孝勇) wedding photos," Kuan said.

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