Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Ma vows to release donation records

PUBLIC ACCOUNTING A KMT Taipei City councilor told a press conference that he had helped the mayor donate money to the family of the Hsichih Trio murder victims

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) promised yesterday that he would soon release records on all the donations he has made during his eight years as mayor.

"We will [make public the donation records.] We are sorting the records right now and will hold a press conference at the proper time to explain the matter," Ma told reporters at Taipei City Hall, without giving a timeframe.

Ma has previously said that he had donated more than NT$69 million (US$2.09 million) to public welfare groups over the past eight years, including two foundations established with NT$47 million from mayoral election subsidies and more than NT$16 million from his personal account that was given to 10 groups.

Last Friday night Ma said that he had donated NT$6 million earlier that day and would contribute another NT$5.5 million from the special mayoral fund this week.

These two donations, he said, in addition to the NT$5 million he donated during the past year, would equal the NT$16 million of his monthly mayoral allowance that required no independent accounting oversight.

On Saturday, however, the Taipei City Government said that the money had not come from the mayoral fund but from Ma's personal account, and that the mayor had decided to donate an amount equal to the portion to highlight the flawed special fund system.

Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers last week accused Ma of donating cash to charity to "destroy the evidence" that he had mishandled his special mayor allowance fund.

Ma responded to that accusation yesterday by confirming Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Yang Shih-chiu's (楊實秋) account that the mayor had given NT$120,000 to 20-year-old Wu Tung-yen (吳東諺), whose father, Wu Ming-han (吳銘漢), and mother, Yeh Ying-lan (葉盈蘭), were murdered in their Hsichih, Taipei County, apartment in 1991.

Wu Tung-yen, who saw his parents killed, has been paralyzed ever since from shock.

Yang showed reporters six claim forms signed by Wu Tung-yen, saying they proved that he had been helping Ma to make donations to the Wu family since 2003.

According to Yang, Ma was concerned about the family, and asked him to help donate the money.

"Mayor Ma wanted to keep a low profile and asked me to help make the donations after the defendants were found not guilty in 2003," Yang said, condemning the DPP legislators' accusations as groundless.

Ma later confirmed Yang's remarks, adding that he made other such donations to individuals.

"I visited Wu Ming-han's children when I was the justice minister, and I am sympathetic to their situation ? It's not necessary to keep a high profile on the matter," Ma said while attending a municipal event.

Su Chien-ho (蘇建和), Liu Bing-lang (劉秉郎) and Chuang Lin-hsun (莊林勳) were convicted of the Hsichih murders in 1991 and sentenced to death in 1992. The Taiwan High Court overturned their convictions in 2003, citing weak evidence and ordered their release.

DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said yesterday that he belived Yang was the one who had really donated the money.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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