Sun, Apr 01, 2012 - Page 3 News List

SID says it will not indict Ma and campaign worker

CLEAR LINE:The SID said the Presidential Office did not officially set up a group to handle Ma’s campaign and that an ex-official had resigned before helping the campaign

By Lin Chun-hung  /  Staff reporter

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) on Friday said it would not indict President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former Presidential Office spokesperson Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) on charges of violating the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例).

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in August last year accused Ma and Lo of corruption and embezzlement respectively for setting up Ma’s re-election campaign headquarters inside the Presidential Office building, transferring the operation of a government-funded Facebook page for private use by Ma’s campaign office.

The party also said that Lo continued to receive his salary as a civil servant even though he had stepped down from his post as Presidential Office spokesperson.

According to the SID’s findings, the Presidential Office did not officially establish a special unit tasked with the affairs of presidential elections.

It further cited Presidential Office personnel as saying that it was due to a separation of office duties that the personnel in charge of the president’s Facebook account, weekly updates of policies or issues and general schedule management were called the “special group.”

The SID report cited employee records of the group’s members showing that they had been hired in 2008, which the SID said was proof that the personnel were not hired solely for the sake of the this year’s presidential election.

The group’s members, including Chang Tung-hsu (張東旭), Wang Yin-hsuan (王尹軒) and Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國), had only managed the internal affairs of the Presidential Office since being hired for the “special team” and had not been involved in affairs relating to the president’s re-election bid, the report said, adding that all three had resigned from their positions in the Presidential Office in June last year.

The Presidential Office did not pay them salary, insurance fees or any other kind of compensation following their resignations, the report added.

On the DPP’s accusations that Lo was still being paid a civil servant’s salary, the SID found that after Lo had resigned as Presidential Office spokesperson on June 1 last year, a position he had held since March 1, 2010, he was not paid by the Presidential Office.

The SID added that the Ma campaign office Web site, following an investigation, was found to have been set up and managed by Chin Chih-lu, an unpaid non-civil servant volunteer, and that all the expenses incurred from operating the Facebook page was funded by Ma’s election campaign office, not the Presidential Office.

Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer

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