Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Ministry seeks to seal up officials’ retirement loophole

By Lin Shu-hui  /  Staff Reporter

The Ministry of Civil Service will draft a legal amendment aimed at preventing civil servants from using retirement as a method to escape punishment, Minister of Civil Service Chang Che-chen (張哲琛) said.

The issue came to the forefront this month when former High Court justice Chen Yi-nan (陳貽男) was impeached by the Control Yuan for allegedly abusing his position by accessing personal information about a female colleague last year in an attempt to woo her.

However, when the Control Yuan ordered on March 6 that the Civil Servants’ Disciplinary Committee punish Chen, it was revealed that Chen had retired in January and therefore could not be punished, and he was entitled to a monthly pension of NT$98,000 (US$3,320).

At a meeting of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee on Monday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) called on the Examination Yuan to find a way to close this loophole, which Wu said would set a bad precedent.

Wu said the ministry should consider amending the legal statutes so that there are no more loopholes and create a mechanism so a judge’s monthly pension could be rescinded or recalled. Wu added that judges do not currently fear the law because they know they can retire if they run into trouble.

Wu said this cavalier attitude leaves the public with the impression that judicial reform is hopeless, adding that any loophole that allows judges to escape punishment is unacceptable.

Article 7 of the Discipline of Civil Servants Act (公務員懲戒法) states: “Civil servants with cases pending decision in the Civil Servants’ Disciplinary Committee may not be laid off or apply for retirement. Civil servants under impeachment by the Control Yuan are subject to the same aforementioned treatment.”

However, Chang said Chen’s application for retirement was made before the Control Yuan impeached him.

Chang said the ministry would discuss potential legal amendments internally as well as with other judicial and administrative organizations to combat a further recurrence of a similar situation.

Lu Ming-tai (呂明泰), director of the Department of Retirement and Survivor Relief, said similar loopholes existed for township committee members all the way to vice ministers.

Currently the ministry is debating an amendment to the Civil Servants Retirement Act (公務人員退休法) that would insert a clause stipulating that if prosecutors file legal action against a civil servant pertaining to charges that infringe on national benefits, that person’s pension would be frozen until a verdict was reached, an official said.

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer

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