MOI rejects Lee’s bid for reinstatement

OUT ON BAIL::The KMT Nantou County commissioner applied to be reinstated right after being released from detention, to the dismay of the opposition and activists

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Apr 02, 2013 - Page 3

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said last night that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Nantou County Commissioner Lee Chao--ching (李朝卿), who was indicted for corruption, would continue to be barred from resuming office.

Pan-green Nantou County councilors earlier yesterday called on Lee Chao-ching to step down, but county government Secretary-General Chen Cheng-sheng (陳正昇) said Lee would decide according to public opinion.

Lee has been indicted by Nantou County District Prosecutors’ Office on charges of receiving kickbacks from almost every bid for a county government project since taking office in 2008.

The office said Lee was allegedly involved in more than 117 cases of bribery. He was detained in November last year and released on bail last Tuesday.

Lee applied to resume his job the moment he was released, an application that Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan ( 李鴻源) said on Saturday his ministry would not be able to refuse.

The ministry’s statement drew opposition from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as well as prominent activists, such as former DPP chairman Shih Ming-te (施明德) and Chi Wan-sheng (紀萬生), who said that if Lee Chao-ching were reinstated, they would protest in front of the county government.

Chi, a former editor at Formosa Magazine, said that he would lead a protest to “take over” the KMT headquarters in Taipei and the Nantou County Government building should Lee Chao-ching be reinstated, adding that he had also contacted Shih, the leader of the “Red Shirt” movement in 2008, and that they hoped to work together.

DPP Nantou County councilors yesterday gathered in front of the party’s Nantou headquarters to express their disapproval of Lee Chao-ching resuming office, adding that they suggested he take an extended break or simply step down to focus on his defense.

The councilors said that judging from the indictment notice issued by the Nantou County District Prosecutors’ Office, there was clear evidence that Lee Chao-ching was involved in many of the graft cases.

They added that many of the other county government officials and contractors indicted in the same case had already pleaded guilty.

If Lee Chao-ching resumes office, he would be in a position to take his revenge on these people, the pan-green camp said, adding that because Lee Chao-ching’s reputation has suffered as a result of the charges, he would not be able to concentrate on county affairs.

It would be best for him to step down, the pan-green camp said, adding that it was the only way for county residents to move on with their lives.

Since being released on bail, Lee Chao-ching had remained in his home and refused requests for interviews and comments by the media. However, due to the many protests, Chen said that Lee would eventually address the issue.