Fri, Apr 05, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Ma’s campaign funds allegedly embezzled

By Chang Tsung-chiu, Yen Hung-chun and Peng Hsien-chun  /  Staff reporters

Cho Po-chung, right, is escorted by a police officer in Changhua County following a court hearing on March 8.

Photo: Tang Shih-ming, Taipei Times

The Chinese-language magazine the Journalist reports that Cho Po-chung (卓伯仲), the younger brother of Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), is suspected to have embezzled funds from President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) presidential campaign during last year’s election.

The latest issue of the magazine claims the funds were embezzled from Ma’s Changhua County campaign headquarters.

The magazine said Changhua district prosecutors discovered that Cho Po-chung, who has been detained since January on suspicion of manipulating several tenders and taking kickbacks from a contractor, might also have embezzled tens of millions of NT dollars in donations from businesses to Ma’s Changhua office.

The prosecutors recently asked KMT headquarters in Taipei to provide relevant account documents, leading top KMT officials to launch their own investigation while drawing a line between the party and Cho Po-yuan, the magazine reported.

The magazine said that when some people warned that Cho Po-yuan and his family were dipping into the campaign office’s funds, both Ma, who is also KMT chairman, and King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), then the executive director of Ma’s campaign, backed Cho Po-yuan.

Cho Po-yuan and King are good friends, the magazine said.

When rumors surfaced during an investigation of alleged graft charges in several procurements involving Cho Po-yuan that he might have appropriated some of Ma’s campaign funding, top KMT officials began to question the brothers’ integrity and decided to launch their own investigation, the magazine said.

Party officials cooperated with prosecutors, the magazine said.

The Changhua District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said the case was still under investigation.

It said prosecutors have questioned officials at the KMT’s branch office in Changhua and its head office in Taipei, as well as Cho Po-yuan, Changhua Deputy County Commissioner Lin Tien-fu (林田富) and county government secretary-general Lai Chen-kou (賴振溝).

An official in the KMT’s headquarters, who wished to remain anonymous, said the party would fully cooperate with the prosecutors’ investigation.

KMT Changhua office spokesman Wu Kuo-chen (吳國楨) said the party organization did not handle funds in the campaign office and that he did not know if prosecutors had questioned office staffers.

Changhua County Government spokesman Huang Tung-lieh (黃東烈) said the county government cannot respond to a media report based on rumors, adding that it respects the judiciary’s handling of the corruption charges.

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