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Thu, Aug 03, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan defends Tzeng impeachment

DUAL CITIZENSHIP Officials from the watchdog body say that the decision was legal and that the education minister knew the consequences of his inaction

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Control Yuan's decision to impeach Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) over his retaining of US citizenship was made on purely legal grounds and there was absolutely no political interference as the media claimed, according to Lin Shih-chi (林時機), a member of the Control Yuan.

"Tzeng's academic achievements and his dedication to Taiwan's educational reform leave no room for criticism. Nonetheless, the agreement reached on Monday [to impeach Tzeng] was due to his violation of the Nationality Law over the past eight years. It is simply a legal issue. There is no reason to politicize the entire matter," Lin said.

Lin's statement was made in response to fierce criticism by numerous educational organizations that said that the decision was unjust and politically motivated.

"I wonder why the Control Yuan has suddenly become so efficient as to pass this motion within such a remarkably short period of time? I suspect the decision was a political move," DPP lawmaker Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said.

Chiu, joined by representatives from dozens of educational organizations, held a news conference yesterday to garner support for Tzeng.

The Control Yuan's decision to impeach Tzeng for unlawfully serving in three positions at national universities while holding dual citizenship, has created a stir among the public.

Lin said that Tzeng had been negligent over the issue and that several notices from the Ministry of Education -- his direct supervisory unit when he served as administrator of National Cheng Cheng University (CCU) and National Yang Ming University (YMU) -- were sent to remind him to revoke his US citizenship.

However, Tzeng took no action, Lin said.

What makes him more vulnerable to the impeachement charges is that on June 29 of last year he promised to renounce his US citizenship within a year, when he began his stint as president of YMU, Lin said.

Though he filed the paperwork to renounce his US citizenship at the American Institute in Taiwan on June 5 of this year, the procedure was not completed until July 14, which was too late, Lin said.

Tzeng was accused of breaching Article 10 of the National Law Enforcement Statute when he served as the dean of the College of Social Science at CCU from August 1992 to May 2000. The statute stipulates that employees of state-run education facilities are considered public officials, and as such must revoke citizenship of other countries.

The statute was revised in February of this year, to state that only those who gain approval from their supervisors can hold dual citizenship and serve as president of a national university.

Tzeng, as president of YMU at the time, continued to violate the legal regulations because he never applied for approval from the education ministry.

Lin said the verdict was based on Article 1 of the Civil Servant Services Act (公務員服務法), which states that public officials have to abide by lawful orders to carry out their duties, as well as Article 5, which says that public functionaries have to be honest.

The related documents are in the hands of the Judicial Yuan's Committee on the Discipline of Public Functionaries. It is up to them to decide how to deal with the case.

According to Article 9 of the Law on Discipline of Public Functionaries (公務員懲戒法), there are two kinds of punishments -- one is to issue a warning to violators, the other is to request lawbreakers to resign from their current positions, Lin said.

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