Former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
After the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate had his say, presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (
Ma was indicted on Feb. 13 on corruption charges for embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000) from his special mayoral allowance during his eight years in office.
Ma said prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (
Ma said he believed that government officials' special allowances should be treated as a "substantial subsidy" -- as income -- and not as public funds.
Ma said he had considered the special allowance funds as part of his government income since he became a government official in 1988.
Prosecutor Hou Shao-ching (侯少卿) asked Ma: "Do you consider the special allowance fund a personal fund that you could use for anything, or a public fund that you must use for public expenditures?"
"The special allowances are personal funds and I could use them on anything, but I actually made a number of donations to charities which amounted to more than the special allowance I received," Ma replied.
Ma said he had not "pocketed" any of the money from the special funds.
Hou offered the court several documents, including press statements and Taipei City Government meeting records, as evidence that Ma knew that the special allowance funds were public funds.
Prosecutors have said that between December 1998 and July last year, Ma wired half of his monthly special Allowance -- NT$170,000 -- directly into a personal account. They said Ma had accumulated NT$11,176,227 in accounts belonging to him and his wife.