Tue, May 27, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office calls for hand-over procedure to secure official information

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office yesterday said that they would have no way of knowing whether former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had concealed any documents from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during the transfer of power unless a law was passed to regulate the hand-over procedure.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said that their survey showed they have obtained 1,744 documents from Chen, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), former Presidential Office secretary-general Mark Chen (陳唐山) and two former deputy secretary-generals Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍).

The 1,744 documents, however, do not contain the controversial papers about Chen Shui-bian’s “state affairs fund” because they are in the hands of state prosecutors, Wang said.

Former president Chen was declared a defendant in the case shortly after his term ended on May 20.

Taipei prosecutors indicted former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) in November 2006 on corruption and forgery charges in connection with the mishandling of the “state affairs fund.” Chen Shui-bian could not be charged at the time because of presidential immunity.

Wu is suspected of using receipts from a number of people to have personal expenses reimbursed from the fund between March 2002 and March 2006.

The former president has claimed that the receipts used to claim reimbursements were used to conduct six secret diplomatic missions. But the prosecutors said they learned that while two of the diplomatic missions were real, the suspects failed to offer any proof that the other four were real.

The Presidential Office said in October that documents detailing the contents of the projects were classified information under the protection of the Classified National Security Information Protection Act and said prosecutors and the court should not be allowed to see them.

The prosecutors and the courts asked the new Presidential Office staff to declassify the documents, but they have not yet come to a decision.

Wang yesterday said that among the 1,744 documents, only one was classified as “absolutely confidential” and it was handed over by Lu’s office, along with 144 “highly confidential,” 184 “confidential” and 141 “secret material” documents.

Chen Shui-bian’s office handed over 277 documents and seven of them were listed as “highly confidential,” Wang said.

Meanwhile, Ma yesterday called the first weekly meeting with Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) at the Presidential Office. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) could not attend.

Emphasizing that the meeting was not a decision-making mechanism, Wang said the regular meeting serves as a communication platform between the Presidential Office, Legislative Yuan, Executive Yuan and the KMT.

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