Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Ex-advisers get peek at accounts

ACCOUNTING QUESTIONS Wu Li-pei said he and other former advisers believe President Chen's explanation of how the money in a special discretionary fund was spent

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Former presidential adviser Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) said yesterday that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had told him and several other pro-independence stalwarts that he was forced to show receipts on the use of a special fund because "the outside world was accusing me as if I were a suspect of embezzlement."

Wu said he and former senior advisers Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏), Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂), Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥), and Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) met with the president on Wednesday.

Wu said Chen showed them receipts on how he had used the special state affairs fund to "prove his innocence," and "we believe he is innocent."

If any violations of the law have taken place, they should be handled by the judicial authorities, they said.

Last Tuesday, the Ministry of Audit said the administration had refused to present sufficient information for auditors to verify the legality of the expenditures from the NT$48 million (US$1.46 million) president's special allowance fund.

The watchdog agency said there might have been irregularities in Chen's usage of the fund.

WANG WEIGHS IN

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), whom the president on Tuesday showed classified files concerning the use of the special state affairs fund, which is for the president's discretionary use, said yesterday that the receipts were all confidential.

"I don't know what the president has shown to other people, but what I was shown was all confidential information," Wang said.

"If there is disclosure [of the receipts], it will be bad for the entire nation, and be harmful to the persons [who requested the reimbursement]," he said.

Wang said that some people and things related to a nation's diplomacy should be kept secret, noting that he hoped whoever had seen the classified information would keep what they learned confidential.

Wang made the remarks in response to reporters' questions about whether Chen's publicizing the receipts would hurt former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

According to Wang, among the receipts shown to him were documents indicating how Lee used the special fund from 1994 to 2000.

"On the documents about Lee's reimbursement, I saw the names [of those requesting reimbursement], the code numbers [of their diplomatic tasks] and the amounts," Wang said.

He refused to compare the way in which Lee and Chen used the special fund, saying "maybe Chen has his own way."

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip David Huang (黃適卓), who met with Chen on Wednesday, said yesterday that he and three other caucus members met with Chen to "monitor, not to endorse" and to "communicate with, not be bought over" by the president.

"It's beyond our capacity to determine whether the receipts the president showed us were legal or not," he said.

He said that the president had taken the opportunity to express his great respect for Lee, praising his predecessor for having "institutionalized" the "Feng Tien" and "Tang Yang" projects for conducting "secret diplomacy."

OPINION POLL

Meanwhile, according to a survey released yesterday by Global Vews Monthly, a total of 53.1 percent of the public think that Chen should give the public a complete explanation about the corruption allegations against the first family and answer reporters' questions about the scandals.

The survey found that 62 percent of respondents did not believe Chen's explanation of how he has spent the special state affairs fund, and only 18.2 believe him.

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