Thu, Oct 27, 2005 - Page 3 News List

NSB urged to be more open about its secret budgets

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators from across party lines yesterday asked for more openness about the National Security Bureau's budget for next year.

"While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' secret budget accounts for 15 percent of the whole budget and the Ministry of National Defense accounts for 21 percent, the National Security Bureau accounts for 91 percent," said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Chi-chu (李紀珠) at a meeting of the legislature's National Defense Committee.

PUBLIC OVERSIGHT

"The bureau should not have expanded its secret budgets by so much," Lee said. "Budgets that do not touch on core national security issues should be made public. Otherwise, how could legislators and the public monitor the bureau."

Bureau Director-General Hsueh Shih-ming (薛石民) told the committee that his agency has asked for a NT$4.6 billion (US$136.3 million) budget for next year, including a NT$4.1 billion secret budget and NT$500 million budget that is open to the public.

PRYING EYES

"If the bureau opens too much of its budget to the public, our enemy China would know what we are doing," Hsueh said.

The legislature's Budget Center has called for better oversight of the bureau's funding, after a review found large and unexplained increases in the bureau's travel budget.

The Budget Center's review noted that the bureau had asked for NT$18 million for travel next year, up from NT$13.4 million this year, and NT$3 million last year. The center said the bureau had not explained why its travel costs are rising so rapidly.

TRANSPORATION

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) said it is unreasonable for a large number of bureau personnel to be reimbursed for their daily commutes while other government staffers are not.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) wanted to know why the bureau's special service center needs 130 vehicles.

Hsueh said the cars are used by special service forces responsible for the security of both incumbent and former presidents and vice presidents.

He said it was expensive to maintain all those vehicles.

This story has been viewed 2277 times.
TOP top