The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cannot investigate Vice Premier Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) over his role in the Papua New Guinea fund scandal now that he is no longer a party member, the director of the DPP’s Culture and Information Department, Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠), said yesterday.
While the DPP on Sunday decided to launch a probe into the matter, Yen said Chiou’s decision to leave the party had negated the party’s decision.
Yen, however, pointed out that the party could still ask its Evaluation Committee to conduct a probe if necessary.
“We will not harbor any evildoers nor cover up their mistakes,” she said. “We will also cooperate fully with the judiciary.”
As a precedent, the DPP stripped party membership in 2005 from former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) after Chen had withdrawn from the party over a corruption scandal.
DPP chairman candidate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) yesterday said that Chiou should be held chiefly responsible for the scandal, but President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) must also shoulder part of the blame.
Koo said Chiou should be held mainly responsible if he wired the money based simply on his “trust” in the two intermediaries.
As for President Chen, Koo said the president held great trust in Chiou and although the president’s motive may have been sound, as the head of state, Chen was duty-bound to bear part of the responsibility.
Koo said the scandal had delivered yet another blow to the image of the country and party, but said if Taiwan were a normal country, this would not have happened.
Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), a close aide of DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), yesterday requested that President Chen withdraw from the party for making a serious mistake.
Describing the scandal as “far off the beam,” Chao said the president should be held responsible for letting the scandal happen and bypassing executive and legislative oversight.
The administration missed the critical period for recovering the money and capturing suspects, causing a dent in the image of the party and the country, he said.
Chao, however, emphasized that it was just his personal opinion and that he was not speaking for Hsieh.
Chiou yesterday said that it would be “unfair and unnecessary” for President Chen to withdraw from the party because although the president was aware of the matter, he did not give the order.