National Taiwan University president Kuan Chung-ming’s (管中閔) lawyers yesterday said that a Judicial Yuan commission incorrectly interpreted the Civil Servant Work Act (公務員服務法) in issuing Kuan a reprimand.
The Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission incorrectly interpreted Article 14, Paragraph 1 of the act, which prohibits public servants from taking part-time jobs, the attorneys said in a statement after Kuan was reprimanded on Monday for taking part-time jobs while serving as minister without portfolio and head of the now-defunct Council for Economic Planning and Development from 2012 to 2015.
The Grand Council of Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 71, which the committee cited, only reinforces the rule that the nation’s public servants are not allowed to hold part-time jobs, they said.
Kuan earned NT$675,000 for opinion pieces that he submitted “regularly” and “anonymously” to the Chinese-language weekly Next Magazine in 2014 and 2015, the commission said.
Kuan criticized the policies of the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) central government in the articles, which was inappropriate and immoral, as well as damaging to the administration’s image and reputation, the commission said.
However, his attorneys said Kuan’s right to submit such articles was protected by the Constitution, which allows him freedom of expression regardless of whether he was a public servant at the time.
The Constitution and the Copyright Act (著作權法) state that anyone can express their views anonymously in newspapers and magazines, his lawyers said.
The lawyers did not say if Kuan would appeal the reprimand, which could affect his promotions and year-end bonuses.
The Control Yuan in January decided to impeach the 63-year-old economist for engaging in illegal employment during his tenure as a public servant.
His case was then handed over to the commission to decide on the punishment.
Since Kuan was elected university president, he has been mired in a series of allegations of misconduct, including illegally lecturing at universities in China.
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