Thu, May 04, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue boycott holds up political donation probes

CNA , TAIPEI

As a result of the opposition continuing to boycott President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) nominations of Control Yuan members, more than 400 suspected cases of violations of the political donation law are still waiting to be handled by the government watchdog.

Control Yuan Secretary-General Tu Shan-liang (杜善良) said yesterday that initial screening of accounting reports show that there are a great number of suspected law violations which can be investigated only by the fourth Control Yuan, whose members are still not confirmed.

During the last local elections, which took place in December last year, 1,687 candidates applied to set up political donation accounts, 34 of whom received donations of over NT$8 million (US$251,663). One hundred and fifty-four people registered with the Control Yuan to set up accounts but received nothing and 57 others had surpluses in their accounts, according to Tu.

In terms of amounts received, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate for Taipei County Commissioner, Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉), tops the list with NT$118.6 million, followed by Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), who was elected Kaohsiung County commissioner, with NT$75.3 million and the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), who is now Taipei County commissioner, with NT$58.2 million.

Luo's account shows a balance of zero, meaning he has spent all of the money donated to him, while Yang's account shows the biggest surplus of NT$50.4 million.

Tu said that if account holders cannot spend all the money in accordance with the law within two years of filing the reports with the Control Yuan, they must hand over the balance to the national coffers.

If account holders find that they have received an illegal donation, they should turn the money over to the treasury before the Control Yuan makes it public, he said. To date, 81 account holders have handed over a total of NT$5.6 million in such cases.

The most frequently seen illegal donations are anonymous contributions of over NT$10,000.

Donations by for-profit businesses that are in the red are also illegal, as are donations that have not been registered within 15 days.

Initial screening by Control Yuan officials found that there were more than 400 illegal donations. If account holders do not take remedial action within three years, they can be fined according to the administrative law.

Deciding whether or not to publicize the illegal donations and punish violators is the duty of Control Yuan members, Tu added.

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