DPP warns of conflicts of interest around ECFA

WAITING FOR THE KICKBACKS:The relatives of senior government officials potentially stand to reap the benefits of a trade deal with China, the DPP warned

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Apr 13, 2010 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday turned the spotlight on what it said was a potential for kickbacks to government officials and their relatives should an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) be signed ­between Taiwan and China.

The DPP promised to push for an investigation after reports showed that a number of senior officials have family or relatives involved in business with China.

While a business trip last week by Vice President Vincent Siew’s (蕭萬長) daughter, Joy Siew (蕭至佑), to the Boao Forum in China drew media attention, her case may be just the tip of the iceberg, DPP spokesperson Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.

Another case cited by the DPP includes Premier Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) son, Wu Chi-lian (吳子廉), who was accused by lawmakers last year of involvement with Chinese firms in an attempted takeover of Nan Shan Life Insurance Co.

In addition, Liu Chao-kai (劉兆凱), chairman of TECO Electric and Machinery and brother of former premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), is responsible for wind power ­investments into the Chinese market, the party said.

“We are asking that the government investigate whether any … senior official or their family members are involved in business dealings with China before [and if] an ECFA is signed in June,” Tsai said.

The spokesperson also said the government should take a closer look at whether any of the officials involved in cross-strait negotiations could potentially receive any benefits.

Liu Chien-sin (劉建忻), deputy director of policy research for the DPP, said the party had concerns that an ECFA, if signed, would benefit large corporations with business ties in China rather than small and medium companies.

A statement later released by the DPP said that both Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman ­Chiang Pin-kung’s (江丙坤) son and wife were involved in business deals that could be affected by cross-strait relations.

The party also said that a relative of former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) has been involved in ­multimillion-dollar business deals in China.

“The people with the potential to receive kickbacks shouldn’t be asking themselves whether they can go [to China], but rather whether they should be going, or what they would be doing there,” Tsai said, adding that President Ma ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration hasn’t done enough to curb potential conflicts of interest.

“We want a thorough investigation of all cross-strait investments, business deals or any other activities that could result in kickbacks for cross-strait negotiators and [for the government] to deliver it to the public clearly,” Tsai said.