Fri, Nov 24, 2006 - Page 1 News List

KMT scrutinizes judiciary chief's expense account

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

As the controversy surrounding Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) alleged mishandling of his special allowance fund snowballs, more officials who receive similar discretionary budgets from the government were targeted in the latest round of accusations.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) yesterday filed a lawsuit against Judicial Yuan President Weng Yueh-sheng (翁岳生) with the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office Black Gold Investigation Center, accusing him of corruption.

"Throughout Weng's six-year tenure as president, he has had half of his special allowance fund wired into his personal bank account. But in September he suddenly changed the way he requested the fund from using a claim form to using receipts," Tsai said.


Tsai said he suspected that there were irregularities in Weng's case. "If not, why did he change the way he requested the fund when the issue first came to prominence," he said.

"His financial disclosures show that he owned no securities in 2000 when he took up his current post, but now he has securities valued at NT$15.91 million (US$ 484,470). He should say whether the securities were bought using his special allowance fund," Tsai said.

KMT lawmakers have also requested several other officials detail expenditure of their funds, including Accounting and Statistics Director-General Hsu Jan-yau (許璋瑤), State Public Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao (吳英昭), Taiwan High Court Prosecutor-General Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定), Taipei District Prosecutors' Office chief Yen Ta-he (顏大和), Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) and Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文).

The KMT has requested the information from the Ministry of Audit.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers, however, criticized their KMT counterparts, saying they were using "smear" and "intimidation" tactics to take the heat off Ma.

"By dragging the heads of judicial departments into the controversy concerning the funds, the pan-blues are exerting their political power to influence the judiciary," DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said in response to the KMT lawmakers' move.

"The way people request the fund is not a problem. The reason that Ma was accused of corruption was that he counted the funds deposited into his bank account as his personal property. The KMT should stop trying to confuse the public," Hsu said.

In response, Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Fan Kuang-chun (范光群) said: "Weng enjoys a monthly special allowance fund of NT$105,500 (US$3,197) and on average he spends nearly NT$110,000 every month. All the special allowance fund expenses have been recorded with receipts."

At a press conference yesterday, Fan said Weng's wife invested in arbitrage funds in 2002 using NT$5.85 million of her own pension money.

Asked why Weng's allowance money was wired in tandem with his monthly paychecks, Fan said: "There is no special reason as to why it has been handled this way, we have been doing it this way for years."

When asked how Weng paid off his additional expenses since the monthly amount was not enough, Weng's chief secretary Lin Hung-ming (林鴻銘) said: "Weng, as president of the Judicial Yuan, is supposed to pay it off using his own money."

Meanwhile, Ministry of Audit Spokesman Wang Yung-hsing (王永興) dismissed KMT calls for officials who deposited half of their allowance funds into their personal accounts to be investigated.

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