Wed, Jul 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan vote 9-0 to impeach Wong Chi-huey

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Control Yuan yesterday impeached former Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), concluding that Wong engaged in profiteering and other financial crimes linked to the OBI Pharma (台灣浩鼎) scandal, which undermined the public’s trust in government institutions.

In a 9-0 vote, the watchdog body approved the impeachment motion, and forwarded the case to the Judicial Yuan’s Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission for it to decide on the punishment Wong would face.

Wong is a prominent biochemist who has worked in the US and had been touted as a potential future winner of Nobel prize for his research.

Appointed as president of Academia Sinica in October 2007, Wong began working on new cancer vaccine technologies, and also collaborating on research projects with OBI Pharma chairman Michael Chang (張念慈), a friend from the time he was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.

Wong tendered his resignation in March last year, and the Presidential Office approved it two months later.

He continues to hold the post of distinguished research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Genomics Research Center.

Wong is the first Academia Sinica president to be impeached, and was also the first one to be indicted, after the Taipei Shilin District Court in January brought corruption charges against him.

The Control Yuan said that during Wong’s term in office, he bought OBI Pharma shares and helped facilitate the transfer of Academia Sinica’s research to the firm.

In doing so he became involved in illegal profiteering and questionable conduct, violating rules against conflict of interest, undermining the public’s trust and breaching his responsibilities as a public functionary, the Control Yuan said.

Wong in January said he was not guilty of any unlawful activity, arguing that the prosecutors did not understand the technology transfer process and had distorted facts in his indictment.

After the impeachment was announced, Wong’s office issued a brief statement.

“We regret the Control Yuan’s decision,” it said.

“The Control Yuan’s vote was based mainly on information from the January indictment, but there are inconsistencies regarding the times and dates, and other discrepancies with many established facts,” Wong’s office said, adding that it would issue a more detailed response to the decision at a later date.

Academia Sinica officials said that until the judicial process has taken its course, Wong could still hold his position at the center, and they would respect his right to conduct research.

“We respect the Control Yuan’s decision and will wait for the Judicial Yuan’s Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission’s decision and the result of the judicial process,” Academia Sinica Secretariat Office director Chung-li Wu (吳重禮) said.

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