Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Further questions raised about Ma's special allowance

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) yesterday questioned Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) over his handling of the special allowance that the city government gives the mayor.

"An employee of the Taipei City Government told me that Ma has been devising a way to cover up his irregularities in applying for reimbursements," Hsieh told a press conference.

A report in yesterday's Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) said that Ma had not provided enough receipts for reimbursements from the fund.

Late last month, Hsieh accused Ma of pocketing money from the fund, saying that the NT$2 million (US$60,174) the mayor said he spent rewarding employees of the city government was questionable.

According to the Liberty Times report, prosecutors said the receipts for reimbursement for the rewards should bear the signature of each person who received a reward, but Ma had not provided endorsed receipts.

"The employee told me Ma is now asking some employees to pretend that they had obtained rewards as a coverup," Hsieh said.

Ma acknowledged yesterday that the portion of his fund that he used to reward staff members could have gone to just a few people.

"Some people are rewarded on a more regular basis," Ma said at the Taipei City Hall.

Ma, however, dismissed accusations that he had not provided complete receipts, saying that the fund must provide complete receipts in order for the Budget, Accounting and Statistics Department to make reimbursements and for the Ministry of Audit to review his expenditures.

"Whether or not these receipts are now at the ministry or the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office, the ministry and the prosecutors' office should understand the situation very well," he said.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

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