An act to recover wrongfully paid government pensions was yesterday passed into law after a 10-year push, with former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and prominent members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to be asked to return some benefits.
The legislature approved the Act on the Settlement of the Combination of Years of Service in Public Sector and Political Organizations (公職人員年資併社團專職人員年資計發退離給與處理條例), which when promulgated requires people paid a pension for the time they spent working for the KMT and non-governmental organizations to return the excess payments within one year.
The act is expected to affect 381 former ministers, government officials and teachers, including Lien, former KMT vice chairman Jason Hu (胡志強) and former Examination Yuan president John Kuan (關中).
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Kuan has been overpaid about NT$10.11 million (US$335,301) and is obliged to pay it back, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said.
Lien has been overpaid about NT$9.83 million; Hu has received NT$8.65 million; former Straits Exchange Foundation vice chairman Chiao Jen-ho (焦仁和) has received NT$3.73 million; former KMT vice chairman Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) has received NT$1.09 million; former Judicial Yuan president Shih Chi-yang (施啟揚) has received NT$665,640; and former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) has received NT$171,360, the DPP said.
Their retirement benefits are to be adjusted by deducting the number of years they worked for the KMT or other political organizations from the number of years they worked in the public sector.
The Ministry of Civil Service is to announce the exact amount each person owes the state.
However, the act stipulates a pension floor of NT$25,000 per month to ensure basic living expenses for retirees. Those whose monthly pension is below the floor after adjustments will receive NT$25,000 per month.
The 381 retirees combined their political party and public sector service to qualify for government pensions because, in 1971, the Examination Yuan approved a regulation to allow KMT officials who held public office to combine years served as a civil servant with years worked as a party official.
A similar regulation was enacted for officials of the World League for Freedom and Democracy, the Asian Peoples’ Anti-Communist League, the National Development and Research Institute, the China Youth Corps, the Chinese Association for Relief and Ensuing Services and the Grand Alliance for China’s Reunification under the Three Principles of the People.
The regulations were abolished in 1987 and 2006 after government investigations determined that they violated the principle of equality.
However, KMT and party officials who had assumed government positions before the regulations were scrapped were still allowed to combine their years of service.
An investigation into the regulation was launched in 2005 during the administration of then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), and the DPP put forward a draft bill in 2007 to eliminate the practice, but the bill failed to pass the KMT-dominated legislature.
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