Tue, Feb 14, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Lin Hsi-shan case casts light on jurisdiction strain

BLURRY LINES:A rivalry appears to be brewing between the Control Yuan and the legislature, as the Legislative Yuan’s secretary-general is to be investigated

By Lin Shu-hui  /  Staff Reporter

A case in which new Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Hsi-shan (林錫山) is alleged by the Control Yuan to have violated the Civil Servants Work Act (公務員服務法) has cast a shadow over the relationship between the Control Yuan and the Legislative Yuan, two of the nation’s five branches of government.

Inter-branch conflicts should have been avoided under the concept of separation of powers as ascribed in the Constitution, but because of multiple constitutional amendments that gave the Legislative Yuan the power to ratify the president’s nomination of Control Yuan members, there is now a growing controversy over what used to be separated and counterbalancing powers.

The Control Yuan discovered that Lin’s declared assets in 2010 included NT$20 million (US$677,730) in Tingfung International Investment Ltd and the same amount in the emerging company of Tyson Bioresearch Inc.

According to the Control Yuan’s Department of Asset-Declaration by Public Functionaries, the total capital for Tingfung International Investment stood at NT$25 million and Lin’s shares in the company exceeded 9 percent, which was in violation of the Civil Servants Work Act.

Article 13 of the act stipulates that “no civil servant may manage or invest in businesses, but invested shares not exceeding 10 percent of the total capital of the invested company are excluded,” with article 22 and 24 also agreeing that while Lin is not a civil servant per se, under the law he is regarded as such.

Secretaries-general of the five government branches are specially appointed officers, meaning they are civilians, yet are appointed to the posting because of their expertise and are thus on the government payroll.

Control Yuan member Yeh Yao-peng (葉耀鵬) is assigned to investigate the case, but because of its sensitivity, Yeh said yesterday that he had not yet begun his investigation because he had not received the information.

Yeh said he would take care in processing the matter and refer to legal statutes and existing cases to see how to penalize Lin, adding that he was aware of the past controversy when the government watchdog investigated the legislature’s Budget Center.

“Whatever the result of his investigation, it will be based on the law,” Yeh added.

The incident Yeh mentioned occurred in 2009 when then-Control Yuan member Chen Chien-min (陳建民) produced an investigative report saying that an evaluation report by the Legislative Yuan on double-pay “fat cats” held “many questionable and debatable points,” compelling many lawmakers to accuse Chen of infringing on their legislative powers.

Chen at the time said he was merely making a suggestion and did not mean to infringe on the lawmakers’ legislative powers.

Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer

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