National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director-General Jeff Yang (楊家駿) has been reassigned to following allegations that he and his wife spent taxpayer money on personal travel, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday.
In October and last month, Yang took his wife on official trips to southern Taiwan, where they used a government vehicle for personal travel and were accompanied by agency employees, the Chinese-language weekly Mirror Media reported yesterday.
Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) yesterday morning held an emergency meeting on the subject with his advisers, sources said.
Photo: Wang Kuan-jen, Taipei Times
The case has sparked public anger and affected the reputation of government agencies, the ministry said in a statement.
Hsu last month heard rumors of the incidents and asked the ministry’s Department of Civil Service Ethics to look into the matter, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) said, adding that the investigation was ongoing.
Incorruptibility is a core value of the government, the ministry said, adding that it would continue to raise awareness about conduct and discipline among civil servants to improve the public’s trust in the government.
At 11am, Yang, who was named a model civil servant in June, held a news conference and released a statement in response to the allegations.
Yang said that he respects the ministry’s decision to transfer him.
On previous official trips, agency staff nationwide had taken him to several places to understand the local lifestyle and sentiment, he said.
Yang said he believes that to engage with the international community, the agency needs to understand the unique characteristics of each location.
He expressed gratitude that his wife has been able to accompany him on official trips, saying that she helps him at charity events.
To fully grasp the needs of new immigrants, migrant workers and agency staff stationed nationwide, Yang said he often can only attend events on weekends.
He said he believes that bringing along a companion to such events is more than diplomatic etiquette, which is why he asks his wife to accompany him.
He does not apply for overtime pay on weekends, his wife pays for her own train tickets and, regarding overnight accommodations, he only applies for reimbursement within the limit and pays the difference, Yang said, adding that his wife pays for presents they give to agency staff.
As for criticism that his wife has traveled in government vehicles and shares meals with agency staff, Yang said that on most of their trips, he or she usually pay for the meals, seldom letting staff pay.
Yang asked whether he should ask his wife to follow him in a taxi or sit at a separate table at meals and let her pay for herself.
He said that his management style is straightforward and any claims of so-called “verbal bullying” by him or problems with his management style are related to each individual’s perception.
However, his principle for dealing with others and handling matters is to never engage in personal attacks, he said.
Yang called allegations that he stockpiles official documents “ridiculous,” saying that issues are often complex, require communication and cannot be solved overnight.
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