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Sat, Jan 20, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Tzeng punished over citizenship


Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) was reprimanded by the country's highest court for public officials yesterday for holding dual citizenship when serving in senior posts at two public universities.

The ruling by the Committee on the Discipline of Public Functionaries (公務員懲戒委員會) followed an impeachment motion against Tzeng lodged by the nation's official watchdog body, the Control Yuan, last August.

While Tzeng could have faced dismissal, the committee decided only to reprimand him out of consideration his "remarkable contribution" to the country's academic arena.

The committee found Tzeng, who served in leading positions at the National Chung Cheng University (中正大學) and National Yang Ming University (陽明大學) between 1992 and 2000, had held dual citizenship during that period of public service and did not give up his US citizenship until last July.

Tzeng faced such severe criticism from opposition lawmakers over his dual citizenship that he completed the procedures to forsake his US citizenship last June.

Employees of state-run education facilities are considered public officials and as such must revoke any citizenship they hold in other countries.

The committee found that although the regulations, which were revised in February 2000, state that only those who gain approval from their supervisors could serve as the president of a national university while holding dual nationality, Tzeng had not applied for such approval.

Tzeng defended himself last year over the nationality issue by saying that he had been so preoccupied with his work since returning to Taiwan that he had been unable to attend to the issue prior to last May's transition.

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