President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has ordered the Ministry of National Defense to get to the bottom of alleged corruption involving military personnel to restore the public’s confidence in the military, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday.
Ma issued the directive during a meeting with Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) on Thursday after Chen gave a briefing on a ministry report on internal corruption, Wang said.
The report, which was released on Wednesday, said 142 personnel were suspected of graft or bribery and would be referred to military prosecutors for further investigation.
Wang said Ma had been impressed by the ministry’s action, and he would review the progress of the investigations every three months.
Wang said the report only gave the number of people under investigation but did not name names because no one was a suspect yet.
The individuals were singled out following the discovery of some “abnormal situations” and further investigation was required to determine the nature of the irregularities, he said.
Given that the media and political commentators were the first to break report on military officers paying bribes for promotion, Ma ordered the ministry to “leave no stone unturned” in the search for evidence, including information provided by the media, Wang said.
He quoted Ma as saying the ministry should inform the public about the progress of its investigation to reassure the public about its efforts to bring any perpetrators to justice.
The ministry launched its investigation three months ago after it was ordered to do so by Ma, who had been embarrassed by a string of military corruption scandals and the publication of an international report ranking Taiwan’s corruption level as more serious than China’s.