Tue, May 20, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors to be lenient during special fund case investigations, official says

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

State Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming speaks at a press conference over the alleged vote-buying practices among both blue and green camps ahead of the legislative elections in this file photo taken on Nov. 22.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-TE, TAIPEI TIMES

The nation’s top prosecutor said yesterday that his department has decided to take a lenient approach in the investigations of abuses of special allowance funds.

State Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) said he had convened a meeting of head prosecutors nationwide yesterday morning, and that high-level prosecutors concluded that unless they could prove without question that government officials spent special allowance funds for private matters and therefore committed corruption, they would not charge the officials.

Chen said the prosecutors would like to see the Legislative Yuan introduce a law detailing how special allowance funds should be used.

Such a law would help prosecutors during investigations of special allowance fund abuse and aid judges during hearings involving corruption, Chen said.

More than 6,500 government officials are currently facing investigations into their use of special allowance funds.

The high-level prosecutors yesterday agreed a standard procedure for prosecutors’ investigating alleged corruption involving special allowance funds.

The Ministry of Justice said it would take a flexible approach and would not ask officials to list all their expenditure details.

The MOJ said that the special allowance fund should be seen as a “substantial subsidy” (實質補貼) to officials, and so a lenient approach whould be taken.

The ministry said that in the past it has been a unwritten rule that officials have flexibility when spending their special allowance fund.

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