Sat, Jul 31, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan hits out at officials over lax conduct

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Control Yuan investigators Ma Yi-kung, left, Lin Chiu-shan, center, and Chao Jung-yao emerge from an interview with Bureau of Consular Affairs director-general Chien Kang-tan yesterday over a passport and other documents issued to the wife of fugitive murder suspect Andrew Wang.

PHOTO: YEH CHI-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Control Yuan yesterday found that the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the nation's representative office in the UK had erred in issuing a passport and other documents to Yeh Hsiu-chen (葉秀貞), the wife of fugitive murder suspect Andrew Wang (汪傳浦).

The Control Yuan also found that the bureau was only using hard copies of information relating to the relatives and friends of major criminals, resulting in the UK office's inability to obtain needed information from its computer system. It therefore failed to appreciate Yeh's significance as a spouse of a criminal suspect when she applied for a new passport.

The findings were released by a Control Yuan task force investigating matters stemming from the purchase of French Lafayette-class frigates in the 1990s and which interviewed bureau director-general Chien Kang-tan (錢剛鐔) yesterday.

One Control Yuan investigator, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Chien admitted in the interview that those in charge of documents at the UK office had been negligent.

The investigator said the computer- information system containing lists of major criminals and their close relatives had not been streamlined. He also suggested that the bureau was also negligent in its managerial conduct.

Control Yuan investigator Chao Jung-yao (趙榮耀) yesterday said the task force found that there were serious problems with the officials in charge of documents at the UK office.

He said the bureau provided the task force with the original application form which Yeh filed to obtain her new passport. It found that after Yeh received the passport in March, the signature space for the confirmation of receipt was blank.

"This showed that although Yeh's new passport had been collected, it was not known who actually collected it," Chao said.

"We are not focusing on the issue of whether the officials in charge of documents properly issued a passport to Yeh, but rather on whether the officials failed to meet standard checking and issuing procedures," Chao said.

"We determined that the bureau should be held responsible for its lax conduct, and that the officials in charge of documents in the UK representative office are to be held responsible for not following standard procedures," Chao said.

Wang, an arms dealer suspected of involvement in the corruption-tainted sale of the Lafayette-class frigates to Taipei in the 1990s, is wanted in connection with the death of navy Captain Yin Ching-feng (尹清楓).

Yin was the head of the navy's Arms Acquisition Office. His body was found floating off the east coast on Dec. 9, 1993.

His death prompted an investigation into irregularities surrounding the purchase of the French frigates.

Investigators believe the deal included more than US$500 million in illegal commissions.

Cabinet spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) announced last night the premier's decisions as regards punishment of those involved in the passport fiasco.

The resignation of Taiwan's representative to the UK, Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂), was approved, diplomats Chang Jia-hua (張家華) and Lily Hsu (徐儷文) are to be evaluated by the Government Official Evaluation Committee for administrative punishment, and the foreign ministry's Bureau of Consular Affairs Director-General Chien Kang-tan (錢剛鐔), and bureau officials Chiu Shih-jia (邱詩嘉) and Chao Jia-ming (趙嘉明) are to be evaluated by the ministry's own evaluation committee for administrative punishment.

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