Despite President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) resolve to fight corruption in the military and government, legislators across party lines yesterday expressed pessimism, saying they did not expect to see any concrete result within three months.
Ma on April 8 called for government and judiciary reviews of “major” corruption cases and a concrete plan to reform the system within three months. The Presidential Office dismissed speculation that the move was aimed at former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who has been charged with money-laundering, accepting bribes, embezzling NT$15 million (US$450,000) and forgery.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) yesterday criticized the Ma administration for launching a smear campaign against the former president under the pretext of cracking down on corruption, citing recent allegations that many generals have bought their promotions during Chen's presidency.
To combat corruption, Gao said he had proposed an amendment to the Public Functionary Disclosure Act (公職人員財產申報法) requiring all officials who have to declare their assets to post the information online to facilitate public access.
DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that the Ma administration was trying to justify its political suppression of Chen with its show of combating corruption.
Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) has said that a task force made up of the Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Justice and Special Investigation Panel (SIP) has been set up to tackle the matter.
However, Ker said that the Ma administration should launch an investigation into the allegations rather than putting a show and continuing to insinuate that Chen accepted bribes to promote military personnel.
While Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) has said he would step down if he failed to produce satisfactory results within three months, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chao Li-yon (趙麗雲) said she doubted how the public and military would benefit from his resignation.
Investigations of corruption scandals are time-consuming, and a transparent system for promotion is critical to curbing corruption in the military, Chao said.
KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) said he has yet to see any concrete progress since Ma made the announcement.
As the conviction rate for corruption was low, Lu said he was worried the public would be disappointed after three months.
Another KMT legislator, Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), agreed, saying it was difficult to prove corruption and monetary incentives hardly worked.
“I guarantee you the NT$10 million reward money offered will still be there three months later,” she said. “I bet the probe into allegations of promotion in return for bribes will go nowhere.”