The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus denied yesterday that it was planning a trade-off with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus on a bill that would absolve the president or other government leaders of any legal liability should the court find him or her guilty of misusing the “state affairs” fund.
KMT whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) told reporters that the caucus did not plan to allow a DPP-proposed amendment to pass in exchange for presidential amnesty for Yu Wen (余文) — president-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) secretary during his tenure as Taipei mayor.
On April 24, the Supreme Court upheld the Taiwan High Court’s not guilty verdict for Ma, rejecting charges that he had misused his special mayoral allowance during his eight years as mayor, but it upheld the lower court’s guilty verdict and one-year prison sentence for Yu on charges of forgery.
Lin accused the DPP caucus of spreading the trade-off rumor.
Although the KMT caucus regarded the special allowance fund scandal as a “historical glitch” and recognized the need to deal with it, the caucus was opposed to amending the Accounting Act (會計法) for Chen alone, Lin said.
The DPP-proposed amendment stipulates that all government chiefs who have asked for reimbursements from their special allowance fund or “state affairs” fund with receipts before May 31 should not face any liability.
KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the DPP proposal was equivalent to admitting that Chen was guilty of misusing his “state affairs” fund.
The KMT caucus proposed its own amendment to the Accounting Law yesterday that is similar to the DPP’s but would not apply to any cases involving the “state affairs” fund. It would only apply to government chiefs who had claimed reimbursements from their special allowance fund with receipts before Jan 1 last year.
Both proposals are scheduled for discussion during today’s Procedure Committee meeting.
“Although the ‘state affairs’ fund and the special allowance fund are similar, they are still different. We can clearly tell this difference from budget requests [of the Presidential Office and other government branches],” KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), however, said the DPP caucus hoped its bill could be passed before next Tuesday.
Tsai said if the bill was passed before Chen leaves office, the president would have the chance to announce an amnesty for Yu, but it would be better for Ma to announce such an amnesty after Tuesday.
Tsai denied that the DPP was trying to trade Yu for Chen.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang