Thu, Aug 16, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors yet to decide on Ma appeal

ADMISSION During his corruption trial, the KMT presidential candidate said he had taken half of his special allowance for personal use because he thought it was income

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Prosecutors office said yesterday that it had yet to decide whether to appeal former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) corruption case to the Supreme Court.

Ma, the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) presidential candidate, was found not guilty of corruption by the Taipei District Court on Tuesday.

During the trial, Ma admitted he had taken half of his monthly special mayoral allowance for personal use, but said he believed that government officials' special allowances should be treated as income, not as public funds.

The court on Tuesday ruled that government officials' special allowances should be treated as a substantial subsidy, or income, so Ma had not embezzled public funds.

In a separate setting yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨) threatened to sue Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁) if he refused to appeal the case.

Ma accused Hou of asking "leading" questions, quoting answers out of context and falsifying Taipei City Treasurer Wu Li-ju's (吳麗洳) testimony, Lin said.

"Those are serious accusations," Lin said. "Hou should be angry about them and file an appeal."

Lin also said Hou may have violated Article 125 of the Criminal Law (刑法) regarding the abuse of power by public servants if the accusations made by Ma were proven.

Meanwhile, People First Party Legislator Lee Fu-tien (李復甸) yesterday presented a petition to the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Prosecutors Office, asking that they swiftly convene a meeting of high-level prosecutors to reach a ruling on special allowance funds.

If prosecutors reached a consensus that special allowance funds should be treated as income, prosecutors should not appeal Ma's case, Lee said.

The Supreme Prosecutors Office yesterday said that it does not plan to convene a meeting to discuss special allowance funds.

Prosecutors have conflicting interpretations of whether the funds should be classified as public or private money. A decision by the office would have an impact on the investigations into the handling of similar funds by several DPP politicians, including presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

Also see story:
Editorial: Ma Ying-jeou's halo loses its luster

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