Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday accepted the resignation of Lin Yi-shih (林益世) as the Executive Yuan’s secretary-general following allegations of bribery.
“I respected his decision and accepted his resignation,” Chen said, adding that Lin had offered to resign during a late-night chat on Thursday and that Lin’s letter of resignation was delivered to his office yesterday morning.
Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), head of Ti Yung Co (地勇選礦公司), a metal-recycling company, has accused Lin of accepting a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) for helping him secure procurement contracts from China Steel Corp (中鋼) and two of its subsidiaries in 2010, and of asking him for a further NT$83 million this year.
Lin has flatly denied claims of irregularities after the Chinese--language Next Magazine published Chen’s accusation on Wednesday. However, discrepancies in the statements he made at two press conferences on Wednesday and Thursday on the number of times he had met with Chen have raised further questions about his involvement in the case.
Lin said on Wednesday that he met Chen only once, on March 10 this year at his home, but on Thursday, he changed his account and said he had also met Chen on Feb. 25 this year and March 10 last year, after the Chinese-language United Daily News on Thursday published two photographs taken on March 10 last year showing Lin and Chen walking out of a building together.
Chen said Lin tried to solicit a bribe of NT$83 million when they met on Feb. 25 and March 10 this year.
More developments unfavorable to Lin emerged yesterday.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said he was approached by a friend of Chen at 11pm on Thursday and given an audio recording of a telephone conversation between Chen and Lin on March 10 this year.
Chao told a press conference that in the recording, Lin not only asked Chen to give him NT$83 million, but also instructed Chen to give him the money in three installments.
“I listened to the phone recording last night [Thursday]. I’m very sure it’s Lin’s voice. In the conversation, he asked Chen to give him NT$30 million as first payment, NT$30 million as the second and NT$23 million as the third and last payment. The cellphone recording is proof that the allegations of bribery against Lin are true,” Chao said.
Chao said he could not play the audio tape in public to protect the person who gave it to him.
In response, Lin urged Chao and the “friend of Chen” to present the tape to prosecutors for investigation, adding that he was willing to confront his accuser at the prosecutors’ office.
The Special Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) yesterday listed Lin as a defendant in an investigation.
The SID said in a press statement that prosecutors had also subpoenaed Chen for questioning. Because Chen failed to show up, the SID said it might soon issue a warrant of arrest.
When the DPP asked why the SID had not summoned Lin for questioning and insists on questioning Chen first, the SID said that under the Code of Criminal Procedure, it is obligated to question the witness first before deciding whether, when and how to summon the accused for questioning.
The 44-year-old Lin, a four-term lawmaker who lost his bid for re-election in January, said in a written statement yesterday that he had tried many times through his lawyer to get in contact with the SID to clarify the case, but that his attempts have been unsuccessful.