Thu, Aug 07, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Kuang suspended by KMT body

EXPLAIN YOURSELF After spending more than two hours telling a committee the details of her trip, the Taitung County head bowed twice in apology

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen, center, leaves Taipei Songshan Airport yesterday. Kuang was in Taipei to explain her trips abroad to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Integrity Committee.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Evaluation and Discipline Committee last night approved a suggestion by the party’s Integrity Committee to immediately suspend the party membership of Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen (鄺麗貞).

Juan Kang-meng (阮剛猛), head of the KMT’s Evaluation and Discipline Committee, said the evaluation committee would now discuss how long Kuang’s membership should be suspended for.

The Integrity Committee suggested last night that the KMT should suspend Kuang’s membership after over three hours of discussions.

“[Kuang’s incident] has attracted a lot of attention in society and seriously damaged the KMT’s reputation ... The committee suggested that Kuang’s membership should be suspended,” Chang told reporters last night after the meeting at the KMT headquarters.

Kuang, who drew widespread criticism for failing to cancel a 13-day trip to Europe ahead of Typhoon Fung-wong, bowed again in apology to her constituents after facing the KMT Integrity Committee yesterday over the nature of her trip.

Seeking to gain a better understanding about Kuang’s trip, the Integrity Committee moved its regular meeting from Aug. 19 to yesterday.

Kuang arrived at KMT headquarters at about 6:30pm, but remained tight-lipped as she was swamped by reporters.

After spending more than two hours explaining her trip to the committee, Kuang bowed twice to apologize and asked that the public give her another chance during the remainder of her term.

“I apologize again for causing negative reactions and damaging the KMT’s reputation ... I will cooperate 100 percent with the investigations,” she said last night at KMT headquarters.

“I hope the public will give me a second chance. I will spare no effort to finish my term and fight for the best interests of Taitung,” she said.

Kuang was named an interested party on Tuesday after being questioned by Taitung prosecutors amid accusations that she had wasted more than NT$10 million (US$325,000) in public funds on eight overseas trips since she assumed her position in 2006.

Kuang denied that taking 10 township heads on the 13-day European tour was designed to secure their support in next year’s local government elections.

The Taitung County Government’s budget for government staffer inspection trips abroad had been decreasing since she assumed office, Kuang said.

Earlier yesterday, Kuang surprised many by showing up at the county government office after Taitung County Government Secretary-General Wu You-chin (吳有進) had earlier told reporters that the commissioner had called in to ask for leave.

Kuang declined to answer questions from the media as she headed for her office.

She later held an extraordinary meeting with senior officials at the county government before flying to Taipei.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) declined to comment on the controversy surrounding Kuang yesterday when approached by reporters.

However, Wu said earlier this week that Kuang should cancel her trip to the Beijing Olympics and other planned trips.

“The most important thing is how the public feels ... As far as I know, she will not leave the country again before the end of the year,” he said.

Asked if she was worried about her chances of being re-elected next year, Kuang said she fully respected the choice of Taitung residents.

The KMT’s Integrity Committee has no authority to investigate possible abuses of power or corruption.

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