Investigators have received more material from whistle-blowers implicating Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安), who is accused of wage fraud and profiteering, a former TPP official said yesterday.
Lin Guan-nian (林冠年), who was to represent the party in the mayoral election in Hsinchu County’s Jhubei City (竹北) until his party endorsement was withdrawn because of drunk-driving accusations, told reporters that the material, which allegedly proves that Kao engaged in accounting fraud, had been handed to the Investigation Bureau.
Lin, a former director of the TPP’s Hsinchu County chapter who has quit the party and is running for mayor in Jhubei as an independent, said the documents came from former assistants of Kao.
The assistants accused her of financial fraud and corruption, Lin said.
The new accusations add to reports of alleged fraud in Kao’s mayoral campaign by Mirror Media.
“We have received these documents and related material from former office assistants working for Kao,” Lin said.
The assistants had shares of their wages illegally deducted, and Kao spent the money on personal items, Lin said.
Kao was an “autocratic boss” who exploited and oppressed her assistants, Lin said, accusing her of contravening the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).
She forced employees to contribute to her personal budget and registered people as full-time employees even though they had jobs elsewhere, Lin said.
“The former assistants want the truth to be told,” Lin said, urging understanding for him not revealing their identities, as that might expose them to potential harm.
The new allegations come after reports in the past few months that Kao allegedly collected undue wages from her former employer, a government-linked institute, while studying for a doctorate in the US.
Lin said the former assistants decided to provide the material after Kao reacted arrogantly to the accusations and “deceived the public.”
She baselessly accused the assistants of being responsible for her wrongdoing, which added to their motivation to come forward, Lin said.
The assistants initially wanted to work for Kao because they thought the TPP has high aspirations and stands for “clean ethics,” but found that the party is more corrupt than established parties of the pan-blue and pan-green camps, Lin said.
“They were very disappointed to find that out,” he said.
Lin also accused Kao of reacting to the new accusations by attempting to collude with her staff.
“Kao is now contacting her current and former office assistants,” demanding that they tell investigators her version of the story, Lin said.
However, the assistants who provided the material would under no circumstances follow the orders of their former employer, Lin said, urging Kao to tell the truth.
Kao has denied any wrongdoing, saying she followed the law when paying her assistants and reporting to the legislature
TPP Legislator Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶), the party’s Taoyuan mayoral candidate, said that the TPP “will respect the outcome of the investigation, and at the end give a full explanation to the public.”
Meanwhile, other candidates for Hsinchu mayor chided TPP lawmakers for alleged wage fraud by registering “dummy staff.”
A source said that the funds they received for paying staff were used for election campaigns.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Hsinchu mayoral candidate Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) said such practices are illegal.
TPP lawmakers allegedly asked staff to contribute NT$600,000 annually to the party’s coffers, Shen said, likening such practices to what was common among Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials during the White Terror era.
At the time, money disbursed for public purposes was spent on the ruling party, Shen said.
“Does the public want this kind of misconduct?” Shen asked.
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