The new overseas appointments of two witnesses in a high-profile dollar-diplomacy scandal are routine personnel rotations and have nothing to do with the case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Prosecutors investigating the case have not expressed any objections to the appointments, which were released before the March 22 presidential poll, the ministry said.
Donald Lee (李傳通), director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, has been appointed the country’s representative to the Philippines, and Chang Chiang-sheng (張強生), a counselor in the office of former minister of foreign affairs James Huang (黃志芳), has been appointed deputy representative to Malaysia.
The two are expected to assume their new posts by the end of this month.
They have been questioned by prosecutors as witnesses in the scandal in which the government was defrauded of US$30 million in funds intended to help build diplomatic ties with Papua New Guinea.
Challenging the ministry’s appointments, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) said yesterday it was improper for the ministry to send Lee and Chang Chiang-sheng overseas before judicial authorities had completed their probe into the scandal.
He urged the ministry to reconsider its decision.
The ministry said, however, that after Lee and Chang Chiang-sheng assume their new posts, they could still return to Taiwan to help with the investigation whenever needed.
The ministry said Lee and Chang Chiang-sheng had already reported to prosecutors on their handling of the case and would cooperate if they were asked for additional information.