The director-general of the Presidential Office’s accounting department under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Fon Shui-lin (馮瑞麟), told a court yesterday that top aides at the time had instructed accountants on the reimbursement processes of a government fund used by Chen.
Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) scheduled a hearing for yesterday to question Fon about the reimbursement process used to allocate the presidential “state affairs fund,” a government fund earmarked for official purposes to be used at the president’s discretion.
Former Presidential Office director Lin Teh-hsun (林德訓) and former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成) are accused of helping Chen embezzle money from the fund while he was in office.
Fon testified yesterday that while certain reimbursement slips required proof of expense such as receipts to be attached to the forms in order to claim reimbursement, there were exceptions. Such exceptions included lists of Presidential Office staff that the former president gave monetary rewards to as a commendation for their work.
The reward list had previously been scrutinized by prosecutors, who alleged that Ma and Lin devised a way of forging official documents to help Chen get around the rules regarding the presidential “state affairs fund” to gain inappropriate reimbursements from the fund.
Fon said that Ma had instructed accountants to obtain the presidential aides’ seal of approval on the reimbursement slips first, before forwarding the document to the accounting department to be processed.
Fon said that because the process involved many departments, there may have been instances where certain departments did not do as they were instructed.
His testimony contradicted what Ma and Lin told the court during previous hearings.
Ma, dissatisfied with Fon’s testimony, asked Fon if he had any way of proving that he gave Fon such instructions.
“If [Ma] did not give such instructions, I would not make it up in my statement,” Fon said.