Thu, Dec 30, 2004 - Page 4 News List

FTC official quits amid fraud claims

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet-level Fair Trade Commission vice chairman Chen Chi-yuan (陳紀元) yesterday submitted his resignation, citing his involvement in an alleged fraud scandal that is currently under investigation by prosecutors.

Attempting to distance itself from criticism, the commission responded by saying that Chen's resignation stemmed from political considerations.

"We acknowledged his voluntary resignation, but, from a legal standpoint, the investigation has not met the requirements for suspension or resignation as regulated in the Law on Discipline of Civil Servants (公務人員懲戒法)," commission spokesman Chen Jung-lung (陳榮隆) said yesterday.

Since the vacancy Chen left is a political appointment, it will be the Cabinet's decision on who will fill the position and when, Chen said.

The Executive Yuan yesterday accepted Chen's resignation immediately after he submitted it.

The Cabinet is not expected to propose a successor before it is to resign en masse in February next year, said a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Chen is listed as one of the defendants in an alleged fraud case currently under investigation by prosecutors. He was released on NT$300,000 bail last week.

Chen is accused of defrauding the Ministry of Economic Affairs of over NT$300 million in public funds through collusion with more than 30 companies via a consultancy, CYCHEN Management Associates Inc (元大企管顧問公司), in which he served as chairman, from 1998 to 2003.

The firm presided over a number of the ministry's projects between that period. Five controversial development projects, with an expenditure amounting to NT$1 billion, included improvement schemes on roadside vendors and other renovation plans.

The prosecution began their investigation in November last year and has reportedly gathered evidence against Chen.

Chen yesterday defended his innocence in a written statement, denying involvement in the alleged fraud and embezzlement allegations as well as criticizing the media for tarnishing his and the government's reputation.

The case stemmed from a discrepancy in contracts between his firm and the ministry, the statement said.

Chen became a commission member in February 2001 and was appointed the political vice chairman in August 2002.

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