Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Amendment on criminal civil servants enacted

By Hsiang Cheng-chen and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chin-fang speaks at a news conference at the Judicial Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Judicial Yuan yesterday announced that the amended Public Functionary Discipline Act (公務員懲戒法), hailed as the most important reform measure regarding government employees in 80 years, is to be enacted today.

The amended legislation was ratified by the legislature in May last year to bar disgraced government employees from being rehired in the public sector, and to toughen sanctions against public sector employees, including those in the military, who had been found guilty of crimes or to have been negligent in their duties.

A major loophole of the superseded version of the Public Functionary Discipline Act is that the harshest disciplinary action that could be applied to government employees was dissmissal, which allowed them to be rehired and to keep their pensions, Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chin-fang (林錦芳) told a news conference yesterday.

The amended law closes those loopholes by permanently disqualifying fired government employees from public service, he said, adding that other punishments, such as the confiscation of property for pensions and severance payments already received, are authorized by the new legislation.

Those amendments are also known as “the Kuo Kuan-ying clause,” which refers to a controversial former civil servant Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英), whose rehiring by the Taiwan Provincial Government in 2014 caused a public outcry because he was previously dismissed by a different government office for racist remarks.

In addition to closing the pathway to re-employment, government employees under investigation for suspected negligence or criminal acts can no longer exit the service to avoid the consequences of disciplinary hearings, Lin said.

The amended Public Functionary Discipline Act further authorizes the government to demand the return of pensions and severance payments, in part or in whole, from former government employees who were found to have committed crimes or were negligent during their time working for the government, Lin said.

It would impose on those government employees an additional fine ranging from NT$10,000 to NT$1 million (US$310 to US$30,978), deductible from their pension fund or their inheritance, he said.

In the future, a collegiate bench at the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission will hear disciplinary cases, permitting oral argument “as a matter of principle,” and the government employee is to be entitled to legal counsel and representation, Lin said.

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