Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

MOI to ask Control Yuan to probe Shih

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) will formally ask the Control Yuan to investigate former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) for violating the Political Donations Law (政治獻金法), Vice Minister of the Interior Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) told a Taipei press conference yesterday.

Lin reiterated the ministry's position that Shih had broken the law by accepting cash contributions for his campaign to urge President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to step down.

"Mr Shih's campaign is beyond a doubt political in nature, making contributions to his campaign political donations," Lin told reporters, without explaining on what the ministry was basing its decision.

Since Shih is not running for office, his anti-Chen campaign does not qualify as an activity that would allow him to solicit or accept donations, Lin said.

A day after Shih announced plans to launch his campaign, Huang Li-hsin (黃麗馨), director of the ministry's Department of Civil Affairs, said the former DPP chief would be breaking the law if he were to accept donations, according to a recent Central News Agency (CNA) report.

Huang said Shih's campaign would fall into the category of political activities governed by the Political Donations Law, the report said.

Soliciting donations for such a political campaign would be illegal as only political parties, groups, or candidates can solicit and accept such donations, the report added.

Shih is leading the campaign as an individual and not a candidate.

"The ministry's position is that Mr Shih's behavior in accepting contributions to his campaign is illegal," Lin said.

The ministry would urge the Control Yuan to look into the case, she said, adding that it was standard procedure for the yuan to confiscate such illegally obtained funds.

Ministry spokeswoman Patricia Huang (黃秀美) said the ministry was required by law to call on the Control Yuan to investigate this case, although she did not specify to which law she was referring.

She said that in some civil or criminal cases, the ministry must request that local prosecutors investigate cases of possible illegal behavior. In this case, however, the ministry was clearly required by law to hand the issue over to the Control Yuan, she said.

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