Tue, Aug 01, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chiu alleges Chen embezzled money from special fund

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) yesterday said that NT$100 million (US$3 million) allegedly tapped from a Presidential Office slush fund from 2003 to this year was unaccounted for, and urged prosecutors to search the Presidential Office to pinpoint where the money had gone.

Chiu failed to provide any evidence to back up his allegations that the money was embezzled by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

"Half of the Presidential Office's annual special allowance expenditure, whose usage was kept secret by the Presidential Office, was questionable. The total amount in three years was NT$72 million. Together with NT$20 million that has been deemed questionable by prosecutors, the president has to make clear how he spent the NT$100 million," Chiu said.

Chiu based his remarks on a report in yesterday's China Times, a Chinese-language newspaper, which quoted anonymous sources as saying that prosecutors had found that receipts submitted for reimbursement under the Presidential Office's special allowances expenditure budget were fake receipts, and that the total value of the receipts was about NT$20 million.

denial

The Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office spokesman Chang Wen-cheng (張文政) yesterday denied the report.

"Currently no evidence implied any reimbursements from fake expenditures," Chang yesterday told a press conference.

He said prosecutors were busy interviewing people from various businesses who dealt with receipts submitted for reimbursement in an attempt to determine whether the receipts were real.

The China Times cited an anonymous source in a separate story yesterday as saying that prosecutors had found that the Presidential Office had spent NT$15 million of its special allowance expenditure purchasing Sogo Department Store vouchers.

Chiu asked prosecutors to search the Presidential Office and the president's residence because he alleged that "the president needed a place to put the huge amount of Sogo vouchers."

chen's explanation

In related developments, a group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators met with the president yesterday at the Presidential Office building.

"The president told us that there was no wrongdoing relating to the Presidential Office's special allowance expenditure. He also showed us some documents proving that the budget has been used for confidential diplomatic work," a legislator said on condition of anonymity.

DPP legislators were not authorized to reveal their conversation with the president, but the legislators said that the president wanted to clarify the matter in person.

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