President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday pledged to devote full efforts to fighting corruption in the wake of former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih’s (林益世) corruption scandal, demanding that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials and government bodies obtain integrity and build a clean government.
Raising Lin’s case at the KMT’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, called on prosecutors to uncover the truth in their investigation.
“No matter how many people are involved in the case and how high the levels of the involved officials, we are asking the prosecutors to conduct their investigations without making any exceptions and compromises,” he said.
Ma’s comments came amid complaints about his alleged interference in the Cabinet’s appointments by placing Lin in the Cabinet in February despite his defeat in January’s legislative elections.
Ma expressed regret over Lin’s corruption case on Monday, while the opposition urged him to take full responsibility for the fallout.
Ma yesterday acknowledged the case has sparked a crisis for his administration and urged both the KMT and the administrative branch to turn the crisis into an opportunity for anti-corruption efforts.
“The administrative branch and all government bodies should try hard to examine themselves carefully and take the opportunity to remove any tumors of corruption. We should continue the effort to build a clean government and be devoted to defending integrity,” he said.
Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) also expressed regret over Lin’s case and said the judiciary would remain independent in handling the investigation.
“As Lin’s former colleague, I was in shock when learning about the news ... The Special Investigation Division’s handling of the case shows that our judicial system is independent, and we expect the investigation will uncover the truth as soon as possible,” he said.
Forty-four high-ranking officials — ministers, deputy ministers, ministers without portfolio and spokespersons for every government agency — are required to attend a meeting about “ethics directions and fighting graft” on Saturday, the Executive Yuan’s spokesman office said in a statement.
Ma and Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) will address the participants.
Ma is to emphasize the importance of actions taken to stamp out corruption and demand politically appointees observe the principle of cleanliness, the statement said, adding that “do not under any circumstances get involved in bribery” would be Ma’s instruction.
The meeting, to be hosted by the Ministry of Justice’s Agency Against Corruption, is intended to educate officials on the code of conduct governing acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits, the statement said. Prosecutors will explain rules and regulations to the officials.