Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Former presidential aides again deny wrongdoing

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成) and the former director of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) office, Lin Teh-hsun (林德訓), yesterday reiterated their denial of any wrongdoing related to the presidential “state affairs fund.”

The Taipei District Court yesterday called the two former aides for a final hearing before the embezzlement trial against the former first family opens.

When the two appeared at the previous hearing more than a week ago, they sought to blame Chen Chen-hui (陳鎮慧), the former president’s bookkeeper, and 10 other accounting secretaries.

Ma and Lin are accused of assisting the former first family in embezzling NT$104.15 million (US$3 million) in government funds earmarked for Chen Shui-bian’s discretionary use while he was in office. Prosecutors allege that more than NT$27 million had been obtained using ­“inappropriate receipts” to claim reimbursements from the fund.

The district court ruled that Ma should be indicted as an accomplice because he was one of the people who had approved inappropriate reimbursements from the fund.

“Even though I was the one who signed the approvals, I did this under instructions from the accounting personnel,” Ma told the court.

Defense attorneys requested that the court summon 12 witnesses who had served as accounting department officials in the Presidential Office under the former president.

The court ruled that the trial would begin on April 8, and would call Chen Chen-hui as the first witness.

Defense attorney Richard Lee (李勝琛) said at a previous hearing that because his clients were not accounting officers, they did not know anything about the auditing process involved in the reimbursement process.

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