Tue, Nov 07, 2006 - Page 3 News List

DPP legislators demand Ma's indictment

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers yesterday demanded that prosecutors indict Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on charges of corruption on the same basis they used to charge first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) over the handling of a "state affairs fund."

"We respect the judiciary, but we call on prosecutors to apply the same standards regardless of partisanship when they investigate any political figure," Democratic Progressive Party Legislator William Lai (賴清德) told a press conference.

Ma has been accused of embezzling half of his special monthly mayoral allowance of NT$170,000 (US$5,162), with DPP lawmakers saying that Ma deposits the money into his personal account every month and counts the money as his salary.

While the allegations against Ma have been under investigation by prosecutors, Ma said in an interview with CTI TV on Sept. 7 that he counts the mayoral allowance paid into his account as his income when he declares his assets to the Control Yuan.

In Wu's indictment, prosecutors disregarded Chen's explanation that a certain amount of money Wu had reimbursed from the "state affairs fund" was used to cover expenses he incurred afterwards for diplomatic missions, saying that the first lady had committed fraud when she took the money.

"The same standard should be applied in the case of Ma. Ma should also be regarded as committing fraud when his special allowance is remitted into his account," Lai said.

Pan-blue lawmakers said there was no comparison between Chen's state fund and Ma's special mayoral allowance due to their different nature.

But DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) said that half of the president's state fund was similar in nature to the mayoral allowance.

Prosecutors also indicted Wu for corruption because she had sought reimbursement from the state fund for personal accessories such as a diamond ring that was valued at NT$1.32 million and a scarf valued at NT$150,000, among others, according to Wu's indictment sheet.

Chen said that he did present some items to his wife as gifts, the indictment said.

"If it is illegal for the president to give his wife gifts using the state fund, then it is also illegal for Ma to pay half of his special mayoral allowance into his personal bank account," Hsieh said.

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