The inability of the Ministry of Civil Service to meet a one-year deadline to recover excess retirement pension payments from former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and other high-ranking Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members demonstrates a gross dereliction of duty, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said.
On April 3 last year, the Legislative Yuan passed the third reading of the Act on the Settlement of the Combination of Years of Service in Public Sector and Political Organizations (公職人員年資併社團專職人員年資計發退離給與處理條例).
As stipulated by the act, KMT members who held a position in the Public Service Association, the China Youth Corps, then-Chinese Compatriot Relief Association, the World League for Freedom and Democracy or the league’s predecessor association, the Asian Peoples’ Anti-Communist League, would have to personally return, or have whichever organization they were in return, excess pension payments within one year after the passage of the act.
The legislation gave a one-year deadline to recover the funds that KMT members received for inflating their years of service by including the amount of time they spent in party functions.
According to DPP legislative caucus estimates last year, Lien, who included the three years and eight months that he served as a party official in his total years of public service — 33 years — would have to return NT$5 million (US$170,028) in excess payments to the government.
Former Examination Yuan president John Kuan (關中), citing 26 years of public service when he retired, included 10 years and two months that he served as a party official, and would be expected to return NT$10 million, the caucus said.
Former Taichung mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) included more than 10 years as a party official when filing for retirement, bringing his total years of public service up to at least 25 years and would be expected to return NT$8 million to the government, the caucus said.
Lai on Thursday called for the ministry to pick up the pace of their investigations.
In response, the ministry’s Department of Retirement and Survivor Relief director Lu Ming-tai (呂明泰) said the ministry has to dig through data going back five decades and compensate for three pension reforms, which is slowing down the investigation.
Complex calculation and potential government culpability for demanding more funds from the individuals than necessary, as well as the upcoming implementation of the pension reforms in July, has put the ministry under pressure, Lu said.
As of Wednesday, 335 retired civil servants were investigated and 264 were found to have conflated their tenure served as functionaries in the aforementioned organizations with their years in public service, he said.
Of these individuals, 19 are political appointees and 245 are civil servants, while 61 have died or would not need further reassessment due to other reasons, Lu said, adding that the ministry is waiting for the results for 10 more people.
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