Fri, Jul 31, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Chen family’s bookkeeper pleads guilty

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The former first family’s bookkeeper Chen Chen-hui (陳鎮慧) yesterday admitted to forgery and helping the family embezzle funds from the presidential “state affairs fund” in her final court appearance before the verdict will be announced in September.

Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) scheduled yesterday’s session to hear closing arguments from Chen Chen-hui, her lawyer and the prosecution.

When Tsai asked how she would plead, she pleaded guilty to all charges, including forgery and helping the former first family pocket government funds illegally.

She stands accused of helping former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) receive illegal reimbursements from the presidential “state affairs fund,” a government fund earmarked for official purposes to be used at the president’s discretion, by using falsified receipts from the former first family’s personal expenses.

Some of the receipts included wedding cookies for the former president’s daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) and a speeding ticket issued to his son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中).

Many involved in the “state affairs fund” case have blamed Chen Chen-hui.

The former first lady has denied wrongdoing by saying that she was told by presidential aides and Chen Chen-hui that because the rules regarding the fund had changed, she had to collect receipts to receive reimbursements.

Wu has also said that she trusted Chen Chen-hui and never asked questions or paid much attention to the monthly expense reports she gave to Wu and presidential aides to hand to the former president.

The two aides, former Presidential Office director Lin Teh-hsun (林德訓) and former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成), have denied wrongdoing by saying that because they were not accountants, they should not be held responsible for the fund’s reimbursement process. Ma and Lin said they would give their seals to Chen Chen-hui for her to use on their behalf in order to speed up the process and make it more convenient for the bookkeeper.

However, Chen Chen-hui told the court yesterday that she would often take the cash taken from the fund over to Wu at the presidential residence. There, Wu would count the money and store it in safes at the residence.

The former bookkeeper also said Ma and Lin were fully aware of the monthly expense reports she produced, and that they both read the reports and asked questions about them.

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