Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday urged prosecutors to seek lighter punishment for a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator who was barred from leaving the country for allegedly pocketing salaries paid to legislative aides during his tenure.
“He might have violated the law because he did not understand the regulations,” Wang told reporters at the legislature. “I hope prosecutors can take this into consideration when dealing with the case. He did not intend to pocket the money.”
Wang was commenting on prosecutors' recent decision to prohibit former KMT legislator Kwan Yuk-noan (關沃暖) from leaving the country after Kwan allegedly embezzled about NT$4 million (US$123,000) that should have been set aside for legislative aides. Kwan, a former legislator-at-large representing KMT overseas compatriots from 1998 to 2004, was released on NT$600,000 bail last week.
Taipei prosecutors said Kwan suspiciously used four relatives’ names to claim NT$4 million in payments for legislative aides during his two terms. He might also be accused of corruption and forgery, they said.
They added that they had questioned the four persons and all of them said they did not really work as Kwan's aides.
Since Kwan stayed in the US mostly, to prevent him from avoiding the investigation, he was barred from leaving the country, they said.
Kwan yesterday protested his innocence, saying this is how it works in the legislature. He said legislators-at-large are all required to financially support party caucuses by giving NT$100,000 per month and that this is how they do it.
“The legislature gives us the money and then we deal with the fund,” Kwan said. “I have my integrity. I wouldn't embezzle a penny even if the cash is given directly to me.”
Wang said all legislative caucuses had similar requirements for legislators-at-large, adding that one or two legislators also pay the fee in a similar way. He did not name them.
Kuan is not the first former legislator accused of embezzling salaries for legislative aides.
Kinmen Prosecutors Office in 2008 indicted former KMT legislator Wu Cherng-dean (吳成典) on similar charges and sought a 15-year jail sentence. Wu's case is still pending in Kinmen District Court.
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