New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal yesterday denied being involved in a conflict of interest case linked to her former legislative assistants, saying she would launch an investigation to defend her party membership.
Throughout her career at the Legislative Yuan, she has always worked hard to improve the rights of Aborigines and has never breached the law, Kawlo, an Amis, told a news conference
“I will not accept the spiteful accusations that I engaged in influence peddling or exerted pressure on the government’s reviews of green energy subsidy applications,” she said.
“Of all the subsidies I have earned for Aborigines, not a penny has gone into my own pocket,” she said.
The Green Party Taiwan on Monday last week said that two nongovernmental organizations run by a former assistant of Kawlo had received NT$4 million (US$127,539) in subsidies from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to establish clean-energy facilities.
As Kawlo is a member of the Legislative Yuan’s Economics Committee, which is responsible for supervising the ministry, the Green Party expressed concerns that the assistants could have breached conflict of interest laws and asked whether Kawlo had abused her power to obtain the subsidies.
Following the allegations, the NPP’s disciplinary committee on Wednesday last week suspended Kawlo and recommended that her membership be revoked for tarnishing the party’s image.
She had requested that the disciplinary committee members recuse themselves from the meeting and refused to answer questions, because they appeared to be biased against her, Kawlo said.
The committee had announced that it would recommend revoking her membership before thoroughly investigating the case or giving her sufficient time to prepare her defense, she said.
“Some of the things involved in the case happened a while back, so I need some time to clarify them,” she said.
Kawlo said she has dismissed her legislative office staff and would form a team to investigate the case.
She would provide related information to police if she finds anything illicit, Kawlo said, adding that if nothing is found, it would also be a chance to prove her former assistants’ innocence.
“I will try to complete the investigation by Aug. 25 and hope to have a chance to offer my explanation about the case during the NPP national convention that day,” she said.
According to the NPP’s charter, the disciplinary committee’s decision must be confirmed at the national convention, she said.
“I will humbly review myself and admit any mistakes on my part,” Kawlo said, adding that she hopes to continue working for Aboriginal rights if proven innocent.
Kawlo has no legal responsibility regarding the alleged conflict of interest involving her former assistants, her lawyer Lin Hsien-tung (林憲同) said.
“If she had any responsibility, it would be that she was supposed to supervise them, but based on the principle of proportionality, that should not lead to anything more than a warning,” he said.
If the national convention decides to revoke her membership, he would strongly recommend filing an administrative lawsuit, he added.
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