The Supreme Prosecutors Office yesterday night indicted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun and National Security Council Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) on suspicion of misusing their special allowance funds.
DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (
Spokesman for the Supreme Prosecutors Office's Special Investigation Panel Chen Yun-nan (
Prosecutor Chen alleged that between December 2000 and May last year Lu used a total of 1,005 fraudulent receipts to claim reimbursements from her special allowance fund.
Chen added that the receipts, collected by Lu's office staff and security guards, amounted to NT$5.6 million (US$170,000).
Prosecutor Chen said that Yu used the same method to claim reimbursements from his special funds between October 2000 and December 2005 during his time as secretary-general of the presidential office and premier.
Yu used a total of 516 receipts from others to claim NT$2.3 million Prosecutor Chen said.
Mark Chen used a total of 106 receipts from others to claim NT$368,000 between July 2004 and June last year while serving as minister of foreign affairs and secretary-general of the presidential office, the spokesman said.
Prosecutor Chen said prosecutors found that Hsieh did not use other people's receipts to claim reimbursements from his special fund while serving as Kaohsiung mayor and premier.
Su was also cleared.
Prosecutors in November last year indicted first lady Wu Shu-jen (
Wu's case is still pending at the Taiwan District Court.
The charges made against Lu, Yu and Chen are similar in nature to those leveled at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who on Feb. 13 was indicted on corruption charges for embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000) from his special mayoral allowance during his eight years in office.
The District Court found Ma not guilty of those charges on Aug. 14.
Prosecutors then decided to appeal the ruling.
Responding to the indictments, DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (
He said the indictments would have a negative influence on the party's election campaign and the party had to deal with the problem of whether Yu should be disciplined and removed from the chairmanship.
Late last night, DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) called a press conference criticizing prosecutors for applying double standards in handling the case of KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou and the DPP leaders.
When investigating the case of Ma's special allowance fund, prosecutors focused on the portion under Ma's secretary Yu Wen's (余文) responsibility and put the blame on him. But the prosecutors did not use that method in the investigation of DPP figures, Lin said.
Lin also slammed prosecutors for delaying their investigations into the cases of four top KMT leaders -- vice presidential candidate Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), former chairman Lien Chan (連戰), Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Secretary General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).
Yu, who left for Canada on Thursday, was unavailable for comment.
Director of the DPP's Department of Culture and Information Super Meng (
President Chen Shui-bian (
The president said that he supported them in taking judicial steps to defend their reputations, and expressed the hope that the judicial branch would deal impartially with their cases.
When approached by reporters in front of her residence late last night, Lu said that the indictment was "a bolt from the blue."
Lu said she had yet to see details of the indictment, but that she had always used her special allowance funds for public purposes.
Meanwhile, Hsieh, who had promised to drop out of the presidential race if indicted in relation to the case, said he was not surprised by the result on his part because he was confident in the legality of the spending of his special mayoral allowance.
Hsieh refused to comment on Lu, Chen and Yu, saying that he didn't understand their cases and had not had a chance to read the indictments.
KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) said in response to the trio's indictment that what intrigued her was the "incredible coincidence" that Hsieh and Su, who are running in the presidential race, had not been indicted.
Kuo said that the party would examine the standards prosecutors used to indict Ma and those applied to Hsieh and Su to see whether Hsieh and Su were as strictly examined as Ma had been.
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