The more than NT$1 billion (US$34 million) in accumulated fines paid each year by people who have been granted prosecution deferrals should be handled by the national treasury instead of local prosecutors’ offices, so the money can be put to better use, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said.
Lesser fines have been remitted to the treasury over the years since 2002, when Taiwan adopted a deferred prosecution system that allows prosecutors to grant defendants’ request for a deferral if they agree to fulfill certain requirements, such as paying fines, Lee said in a press release.
Only 56.9 percent of the NT$1.7 billion in total fines received last year was remitted to the treasury, while 40.3 percent was donated to charitable organizations by local prosecutors’ offices and 3.2 percent went to local governments’ coffers, the figures showed.
Under the current mechanism, prosecutors’ offices are authorized to determine the destination of the money paid in fines.
The mechanism violates the Budget Act (預算法) because the process is not monitored by any government agency, Lee said, adding that the designation of the charity groups by prosecutors’ offices was also unsupervised.
Furthermore, since deferred prosecution fines are paid mostly by residents in urban areas, charity groups in these areas are more likely to receive donations from nearby prosecutors’ offices, making it unfair for organizations headquartered in poorer and rural areas, Lee said.
The annual amount of such fines paid by defendants has exceeded NT$1 billion in each of the past three years, according to statistics provided by the Legislative Yuan’s Budget Center.
All the fines paid in the 11 years since 2002 totaled NT$8.8 billion, NT$3.4 billion of which went to the treasury and NT$5 billion to non-governmental organizations, the center’s data showed.