Sun, Sep 25, 2005 - Page 3 News List

`Black' offices, officials not really black: Cabinet

BY JIMMY CHUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics and the Central Personnel Administration yesterday held a joint press conference in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao's (賴士葆) claims that a number of "black offices" and "black officials" are sharing the Cabinet's annual budget with them.

"Black offices" and "black officials" refer to offices, and their officials, that do not officially exist or are protected under any organic law. However, Lai's allegations and complaints were immediately rebutted by the Cabinet.

`Impossible'

"It is impossible for us to allow `black offices' and `black officials' to exist, let alone share our annual budget," said Chen Ching-tsai (陳慶財), deputy director of the directorate-general.

Lai held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning. He posed his question during the Cabinet's annual bud-get proposal and said that, according to his investigations, a total of 126 "black offices" are sharing NT$33.7 billion from the Cabinet's annual budget.

"Since they [black offices and their officials] do not exist under certain organic laws, they are not supposed to enjoy the budget," Lai said.

Chen and Central Personnel Administration Secretary-General Chien Shih-chung (錢士中) held a press conference a few hours later to rebut Lai's allegations.

According to Chen, there are only 105 so-called "black offices" that share a total of NT$20 billion from the annual budget. But, these "black offices" are not really black offices in the sense that Lai had alleged.

`Do not exist'

"These 105 government offices do not exist under any organic laws. That is for sure," Chen said.

According to him, Article 92 of the Budget Law (預算法) states clearly that "government offices which do not exist with organic laws or organic regulations shall not share the annual budget."

"All these `black offices' that Lai referred to have their own `organic regulations' so there is no problem for them to share the budget. They are not `black offices,' either," Chen said.

"In addition, most of these `black offices' that Lai described have existed since the KMT rule. They are not new at all," he said.

As for officials working in the "black offices," Chien said that government staff members will not be hired unless they pass the national exams for officials.

"Basically, they are all qualified and certified government officials. Since they are legal officials working in legal offices, there is no debate over whether they are `black officials' or not," Chien said.

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