Sun, Mar 24, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Soong defends his party's probe of secret accounts

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday joined the battle being fought between his party and the TSU over secret accounts at the National Security Bureau (NSB), saying national security should not be used to cover up criminal acts.

The TSU has accused Soong of being the mastermind behind the disclosure of expenditure records of the secret NSB accounts to undermine the position of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), now spiritual leader of the TSU.

TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) reiterated his belief that Lee had embezzled not even "a single cent" from the secret funds, maintaining that the PFP was threatening the country's national security and intelligence community in its attempts to defame Lee.

Huang said similar secret funds had existed during the presidencies of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), and that it was only natural that Lee continued to use the money on security and foreign affairs.

Over the past few days, the TSU has attacked PFP plans to further investigate the case, alleging that Soong was behind the leak of confidential files to Next magazine.

The TSU said the PFP was taking revenge on Lee for his alleged role in exposing the Chung Hsing Bills Finance case (興票案), in which Soong was alleged to have embezzled KMT funds when he was the party's secretary-general.

Breaking his silence yesterday, Soong said the PFP's efforts to track down the secret accounts were consistent with the party's constitutionally mandated responsibility as an opposition party to monitor the government to prevent corruption.

"It is totally preposterous that [the TSU] should create such a conspiracy theory to try to divert attention from the subject," Soong said.

Soong agreed that every country, including Taiwan, has to use secret diplomacy in some cases to survive, but he insisted that any such policy must be made in the national interests and under the supervision of the legislature.

Soong said the establishment of a sound intelligence system was crucial to national security and the safety of the nation's secret agents.

Also yesterday, PFP lawmaker Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) proposed canceling the privileges enjoyed by retired heads of state if they have been impeached during their terms of office or after they step down.

Under the present law, only presidents and vice presidents who are recalled and dismissed from office for treason or sedition are denied retirement privileges.

TSU lawmaker Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) said the proposals were clearly a politically motivated swipe at Lee.

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