Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) yesterday criticized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the inflated fuel expenditure accounts for overseas diplomatic and representative offices and asked the ministry to probe the issue.
Comparing next year’s fuel budgets for the nation’s representative offices in several oil-producing countries in the Middle East, Lee said the fuel budget for the representative office in Saudi Arabia is US$0.2 per liter and US$0.6 per liter for the United Arab Emirates, but in Kuwait it is US$2.3 per liter.
“According to US-based media outlet Bloomberg, the current average price of gas in Kuwait is about US$0.24 per liter,” Lee said. “Apparently, the budget has been inflated to 10 times the actual price.”
In addition, next year’s fuel budget for the representative office in Colombia is US$5.8 per liter, which is nearly six times more than this year’s budget of US$1 per liter, while the current average gas price in Colombia is only about US$1.61 per liter.
Lee added that the fuel budget listed for the representative office in Poland is US$3 per liter, but the local price of gas is only about US$1.66 per liter.
“I understand that fuel prices vary across the US, but I don’t understand why when representative offices in some cities in the US ask for a fuel budget of US$0.95 per liter, the office in Miami asks for US$3.8 per liter?” Lee said. “It seems that some people may be taking advantage of the fuel budgets — the ministry should launch a probe into the issue, and sanction those who have done wrong.”
Ministry spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said he would contact the representative offices in question before commenting.