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.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up