Sun, Nov 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors deny any differences in corruption probes

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors yesterday said there was no difference between their investigations into President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) handling of his special discretionary fund and that of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Ma's monthly discretionary fund is NT$340,000, half of which does not require independent accounting oversight, but does require the mayor to submit "claim forms" detailing how the funds were spent.

Ma was accused of depositing the monthly NT$170,000 in his personal accounts.

The Pan-blue camp and some law experts questioned that while Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁) was probing Ma's handling of the monthly NT$170,000 that do not require accounting oversight, Prosecutor Eric Chen (陳瑞仁), who probed the president in his "state affairs fund" case, did not touch on the portion that was without independent accounting oversight.

Both Hou and Eric Chen are with the Black Gold Investigation Center of the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office.

The Black Gold Investigation Center of the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office yesterday said in a press statement that Eric Chen did investigate the portion of state affair funds without accounting oversight, but did not find anything suspicious.

Meanwhile, the head of Tainan District Prosecutors' office Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮) and a number of prosecutors nationwide suggested the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office convene a meeting soon on making a standard of how to probe the special allowance funds to avoid any chance of having different investigation standards from those applied by Eric Chen when he was probing the "state affairs fund" case.

Eric Chen late last month indicted first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) on corruption and forgery charges in connection with the handling of the presidential office's "state affairs fund."

Chu said there are more than 50 individuals, including top level politicians and chiefs of courts and prosecutors' office nationwide, facing investigations into their use of special allowance funds, and that prosecutors need a standard when conducts such probes.

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