Mon, Jul 03, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet seeks to close job loophole employed by Kong

REMOVAL MECHANISM The government wants to broaden the conditions by which senior officials can be fired, to address cases like the FSC chairman's

CNA , TAIPEI

The Executive Yuan is drafting an amendment to the law governing the appointment of senior officials at independent institutions, so that when they fail to carry out official duties and obligations they may be fired from the post, officials said yesterday.

Currently, only those who have been convicted of criminal charges can be removed from senior posts. The Cabinet sought to make the changes in response to Financial Supervisory Commission chairman Kong Jaw-sheng's (龔照勝) refusal to resign since he was stripped of his official duties and replaced by his deputy Lu Tung-ying (呂東英) in May.

Kong is suspected of involvement in three counts of irregularities which took place when he was chairman of the state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp.

The Executive Yuan dismissed Kong on May 12, but he resisted the executive order and public pressure to resign on the grounds that his term of office was "guaranteed" by law. Instead, Kong appealed his case on June 27.

A Cabinet commission is set to review his appeal within three months.

A similar situation could occur in other independent institutes such as the National Communications Commission (NCC), if its chairman or members were ever found to have been working for another institution or were otherwise in violation of the law.

In Kong's case, the Cabinet can do nothing because there are no laws regulating the circumstances under which a senior official of an independent institution must step down.

In response, the Cabinet has been drafting an amendment to the law to close the legal loophole, proposing that if a senior appointee to an independent institution fails to do their job properly or is diagnosed as being mentally unfit for office, they could be removed from their post.

If the proposal wins legislative approval in September, the Cabinet will have the authority to fire Kong, they added.

In countries such as Japan and the US, civil servant laws contain a similar provision, the officials said.

The officials said that Kong has the right to appeal the Cabinet's decision to suspend him. If the Cabinet commission rules against him, he can further appeal to the administrative court.

But his appeal will not conflict with the Cabinet's decision to change the law, the officials said.

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