The latest board election at one of the nation’s major business chambers has been found to be “evidently flawed and tainted with controversy,” the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday.
In an unusual move, the ministry said it would withhold election certificates for the board members of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China, who were elected in December last year.
It means that the chamber will have to hold a new election, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) said.
The ministry said the disclosure of the number of supervisors to be elected by then-chairman Lawrence Chang (張平沼) had misled voters, infringing on the right to vote and the right to be elected, causing the election to be unfair.
If the chamber is not satisfied with the ministry’s decision, it can file an appeal within 30 days, the ministry added.
The ministry’s decision follows legal action taken by a group of members who filed a complaint with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Jan. 14, accusing newly elected chairman Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰), who owns property development company Shining Group, of forgery.
The members, led by Taiwan Solar Thermal Energy Association chairman Huang Cheng-chung (黃正忠), have alleged that the election was rigged by Lai, saying that the names of some people who did not participate in the Dec. 17 vote have been discovered in the records.
While there were originally only 45 seats for directors and 15 seats for supervisors on the board, the numbers of seats were increased to 51 and 17 respectively after the vote, Huang said.
However, Lai described the ministry’s decision as “irresponsible.”
He said the ministry should have issued the election certificates and left the dispute to the courts.
Chang said the ministry’s decision does not resolve the controversies surrounding the election, adding that he would decide on what action to take in response to the ruling after consultations with his lawyers.
The general chamber is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the common interests of the private sector and to improving the domestic commercial environment, as well as promoting investment opportunities both domestically and overseas, according to its Web site.
Along with the Chinese National Federation of Industries, the general chamber is a top association of Taiwanese entrepreneurs whose members enjoy good relations with government officials in China, as well as in Taiwan.