Thu, Aug 10, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Government auditor loses his temper over questions

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A government auditor yesterday lost his temper as legislators peppered him with questions implying that the government watchdog hadn't probed Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) special allowance expenditures in the same way it had with President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) slush fund.

"If I tell the whole truth [about the auditing of Chen's slush fund], it will put you on the spot," Ministry of Audit spokesman Wang Yung-hsing (王永興) said to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Shi-cheng (王世堅).

Wang Yung-hsiung made the remarks at a conference hosted by a group of DPP legislators to question audit officials over the criteria used to probe Chen's and Ma's handling of funds.

Auditors concluded that there may have been irregularities in Chen's slush fund, as the Presidential Office had refused to present them with all receipts for reimbursements from the fund for reasons of confidentiality. Ma, however, passed muster, with auditors saying that half of his special expenditures could be reimbursed without the need for receipts.

Wang Shi-cheng yesterday accused auditors of "turning a blind eye" to irregularities in Ma's expenditures.

"You should not indulge Ma," the legislator said.

"Don't mess with me just because you are a legislator. I don't accept your insult," Wang Yung-hsing told the legislator.

The allegation that Chen had embezzled money from the slush fund has been under investigation by prosecutors with the Black Gold Investigation Bureau.

DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) urged the auditors to make all their findings public.

"Don't make remarks that leave room for people to speculate that the president has done something illegal," Yeh said to Wang Yung-hsing.

After the conference, the spokesman told DPP legislators and the media that his emotions had been "out of control" and that he wished he could be forgiven.

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