Considering the low position of the initial suspect in an alleged stock manipulation scheme at the Ministry of Labor (MOL), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday asked whether other ministry officials were involved and called for a thorough report on the labor fund portfolio.
Yu Nai-wen (游迺文), head of the domestic investment division of the ministry’s Bureau of Labor Funds, was on Friday detained on suspicion of accepting bribes to ask securities brokers contracted by the bureau to purchase certain stocks using ministry funds.
The bureau is the ministry’s unit in charge of the labor pension, labor insurance and employment insurance funds, as well as the funds related to occupational hazard protection and the disbursement of unpaid wages.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said that the value of the labor fund rose 11.81 percent last year, recording a total profit of NT$473.49 billion (US$16.43 billion at the current exchange rate).
However, from January to September this year, the fund has only made NT$2.24 billion, a yield of 0.05 percent, he said.
In September alone, it lost NT$74.9 billion, as the NT$2.2 billion it posted in earnings that month was a far cry from the NT$77.1 billion it collected in August, he added.
The bureau must adhere to the principles of caution, transparency, efficiency and reliability to ensure stable long-term income, Lin said.
However, considering that one of its officials is suspected of taking bribes and colluding with a private firm, there are clearly major loopholes in the bureau’s internal oversight mechanism, he said.
The KMT caucus called on the ministry to report to the Legislative Yuan on its holdings and trading activity as soon as possible for the sake of the nation’s workers.
The report should include the traders involved in handling the ministry’s three main funds, the external advisers it consults, the securities firms it works with, portfolio contents and trading activity, it said.
KMT Legislator Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said that despite Yu’s arrest, major questions about the case remain.
Management of the fund has been severely incapacitated, Cheng said, adding that Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun’s (許銘春) explanation was unacceptable.
The fund performed terribly in September, despite a stock market rally fueled by US monetary easing, she said.
“What kind of investment portfolio would lose NT$74.9 billion when the broader market performed so well?” she asked.
The ministry’s internal oversight is entirely broken, she said, calling for a report on all investment decisions.
“The contents of the ministry’s portfolio must be laid out in the sun for all workers to see,” she said, demanding that officials take responsibility for the incident.
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
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