A Control Yuan investigation into the election of former National Development Council minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as National Taiwan University (NTU) president in January has found both the university’s election process and the Ministry of Education’s regulations on university presidents to be flawed, a source said on Sunday.
The Control Yuan will soon complete a report on the case and send it to the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee for discussion on Aug. 16, the source said, adding that the committee would determine whether corrective measures should be carried out.
According to the draft report, the current university president system has inherent flaws and the procedures in which the NTU approved Kuan’s application to serve as an independent director at Taiwan Mobile Co while working as a professor of finance was also flawed, the source said.
According to Article 13 of the Public Functionary Service Act (公務員服務法), public-sector employees are banned from taking part-time positions.
The Control Yuan has impeached 42 civil servants for contravening the article, including former minister of education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆), but so far no one has been impeached for serving concurrently as an independent director at a private company, the source said.
NTU has said that, in practice, about 90 percent of its professors apply for approval after they have already begun their part-time posts. However, the university has banned applying for retroactive approvals since 2016.
A key issue the probe aims to clarify is whether NTU has violated its own regulations by approving Kuan’s part-time director position retroactively, the source said.
Asked if there is double standard in the way the ministry handled Kuan’s case, the source compared Kuan’s case with that of NTU College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science professor Chung Char-dir (鍾嘉德).
Like Kuan, Chung was also hired by Taiwan Mobile to serve as an independent director and member of the auditing and remuneration committees, but Chung applied to NTU according to regulations and the university approved it on June 9 last year, before Taiwan Mobile formally announced both their appointments on June 14, the source said.
However, Kuan did not apply for approval with NTU until August last year and because the university was waiting for him to do so, it did not give a formal reply to Taiwan Mobile about both their applications until October, the source said.
Kuan was elected NTU president on Jan. 5 and was scheduled to take office on Feb. 1, but the ministry in April did not approve the appointment, saying the election process was flawed.
According to the ministry, Kuan had illegally worked at Taiwan Mobile and had failed to disclose those positions before the election to avoid a conflict of interest, as Taiwan Mobile vice chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) was a member of NTU’s presidential election committee.
Additional reporting by Ann Maxon
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