A scandal involving Lin Yih-shih (林益世), who has just resigned as executive secretary-general because of corruption allegations, has a measure of irony as Lin also serves as a member of the Cabinet’s anti-corruption committee, according to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members.
Lin was accused by Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) — the owner of Kaohsiung-based Ti Yung Co — of having taken bribes from him.
According to a report in Next Magazine, Lin received a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.1 million) from Chen to help his company secure a slag treatment contract from China Steel Corp (中鋼, CSC) two years ago when Lin was a legislator.
Lin later demanded a further NT$83 million from Chen between February and March this year, the report said.
When Chen refused to pay up, Lin pressured CSC in April to stop supplying slag to Ti Yung for treatment, according to the magazine report.
Since the first term of his presidency, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has made repeated calls for the establishment of a new and cleaner political model with stricter regulations governing the actions of government employees.
The Ma administration also sought to re-establish regulations on the interactions between government and corporations to prevent the government becoming a plutocracy and set up the anti-corruption committee under the Executive Yuan, as well as adopted a set of anti-corruption rules that regulate civil servants.
The committee’s primary purpose is to usher in a new era of clean politics by mandating anti-corruption policies and establishing punitive measures, with the premier holding the position of convener.
According to KMT members who wished not to be named, if Lin, a member of the committee, was innocent of the allegations, then there would be no problems.
However, if Lin did indeed take bribes while serving as a member of the anti-corruption committee, then it is ironic, they said.
Because Lin is one of Ma’s preferred clique of officials, if it is proven that Lin had taken bribes, it would come as a huge dent to claims made by the Ma administration that it operates a clean government, they added.
Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday accepted Lin’s resignation as Executive Yuan secretary-general because of alleged corruption.
Presidential Office deputy spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏), said yesterday that Ma respected Lin’s decision to resign from his post and thanked him for his assistance on administrative and legislative affairs over the years.
“President Ma respected Secretary-General Lin’s decision and approved of his resignation. He also appreciated his dedication to administrative and legislative teams,” Lee said.
As the case is under investigation, the Presidential Office respects the investigation process and supports the judicial body to uncover the truth, Lee added.
“President Ma thinks that integrity is the basic moral standard for public servants and there’s no gray area in this regard,” she said.
As more accusations were made against Lin amid the scandal, the Presidential Office and the KMT have been conservative in defending Lin.
Following Lin’s press conference on Thursday evening, in which he insisted on his innocence, the Presidential Office issued a midnight statement saying Lin should collect more information and explain the issue clearly and that Ma agreed that prosecutors should launch a probe into the case.