Tue, Apr 03, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Minister alleges Control Yuan idle on Shih donations


Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said yesterday that the Control Yuan, the nation's highest watchdog body, has not done anything about allegedly illegal donation solicitation by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德).

Lee made the remarks after DPP Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) questioned him about an announcement by Shih Ming-teh (施明德) the previous day that he plans to begin the next stage of a campaign to depose President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and that he would solicit new donations.

Huang said that Shih solicited donations from the public illegally last August, with the amount collected in a short period of time surpassing NT$100 million (US$3.03 million). The government has failed to address the situation properly, Huang said.

Shih's "Million Voices Against Corruption" campaign staged a mass sit-in in front of the Presidential Office for days in September. At one point, he and a large numbers of protesters encircled the president's official residence and the Presidential Office to demand that the president resign over a series of alleged scandals surrounding his family members and close aides.

Lee noted that cash given to those taking part in presidential, legislative and other types of elections as well as political activities is categorized as political donations.

Those who solicit donations must open special accounts at the Control Yuan in order to receive the money, but Shih's campaign had not opened an account, and that is why the Ministry of the Interior turned the case over to the Control Yuan, Lee said.

According to the Political Donation Law, the Control Yuan is responsible for the auditing and the meting out of fines. However, Lee said, the Control Yuan "has so far done nothing."

In response, an official from the Control Yuan said that it cannot deal with the matter in view of the fact that the Control Yuan remains idle.

The seats of the Control Yuan have remained vacant since the term of the previous Control Yuan members expired in January 2005. The opposition-controlled legislature has continued to refuse to review the president's list of nominees to serve on the Control Yuan.

Hsieh Yu-nan (謝育男), director of the Control Yuan's Public Functionary Assets Disclosure Department, said that the Political Donation Law states that those who open up special accounts must be political parties, political groups or candidates in elections, adding that whether Shih, as the head of the campaign, falls within these categories remains to be seen.

A committee comprised of Control Yuan members should first decide whether Shih's activities should be regulated under the law, Hsieh said.

Hsieh also said he had asked Shih about how the donated money had been spent last year. The campaign headquarters sent a message to the Control Yuan, saying that it had spent about half of the collected money. The Control Yuan has not kept track of the campaign's expenses since the protests petered out late last year.

also see story:

Editorial: Shih is running out of dupes

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