Thu, Jan 18, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Committee ignores bill, ponders Mark Chen's summons

WILL HE OR WON'T HE?The Organic Laws and Statutes Committee took time out from a review of a draft bill yesterday to talk about Mark Chen

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Whether or not Presidential Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) will answer a summons from the Taipei District Court tomorrow in the "state affairs fund" trial was the talk of the Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday.

Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said he was not in a position to say whether Chen would appear in court or not and that it was inappropriate to discuss the issue at the committee hearing, which was called to discuss a draft bill of the political appointee law.

Duty

When pressed by opposition committee members, Cho said that he was personally willing to testify in keeping with the spirit of the Criminal Procedure Code (刑事訴訟法) because it was his right and his duty to do so. However, he emphasized that he could not speak for Chen.

The Taipei District Court has asked Chen and four other members of the presidential staff to testify tomorrow to shed light on President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) "state affairs fund."

The court wants to determine whether the individuals know anything about the fund, part of which the president claims to have spent on secret diplomatic projects.

Punishment

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) warned that Mark Chen could be fined NT$30,000 if he is absent for no good reason and that the court could issue a warrant for the presidential secretary-general.

Lai said that Mark Chen would set a very bad public example by not testifying and that he could be willfully obstructing the court session to protect President Chen. The president has pledged to step down if his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), is convicted by the district court.

Cho said it was a waste of time for the committee to speculate on Mark Chen's intentions.

KMT Legislator Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠) said that if President Chen had been honest about the "state affairs fund," Cho, Mark Chen and National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) had failed to do a good job of advising the president.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) criticized opposition legislators for infringing on the jurisdiction of the Judicial Yuan.

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