The company working with the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) to operate an independent whistle-blower platform terminated its collaboration yesterday to “prevent further misunderstandings” of the system.
Since it was announced on Wednesday, media reports about the third-party system have been “significantly misleading,” Deloitte Taiwan said, adding that the company prides itself on remaining neutral.
The TPP announced the new system on Wednesday to report party executives potentially engaged in illegal behavior, after numerous cases this month of its local chapter heads being convicted of assault and procuring prostitutes, and of having potential ties to gangsters.
The whistle-blowing system was to allow TPP members to file complaints anonymously and around the clock, with those who made complaints being automatically updated with what actions the party had taken to address them, TPP spokesman Osmar Hsu (許甫) told a news conference in Taipei.
The party was then to launch a probe into any potential illegalities conducted by party executives and expel offenders if it determined such accusations are true, Hsu said.
At a separate news conference yesterday, Hsu accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of pressuring Deloitte, saying that it should have considered implementing a similar system.
DPP spokesman Chang Chi-hao (張志豪) on Wednesday criticized the system as TPP Chairman Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) “secret police” and merely a switchboard for patching calls through.
Hsu said that Deloitte Taiwan had reached out to the TPP in June regarding the system, and both sides inked a contract on July 5, with the final funds completed on Sept. 1.
However, Deloitte Taiwan was under great pressure after a leak about this system on Tuesday, prompting the company to not attend the launch on Wednesday and terminating the contract yesterday, he added.
“We understand the pressure that Deloitte Taiwan is under, and we are sorry that even in a democratic country such as Taiwan, corporations are still at the mercy of politics,” Hsu said.
At the Wednesday news conference, Hsu also said that the TPP would subject anyone interviewing for an executive post to a background check, using information in the media and the Judicial Yuan’s online verdict database.
Successful candidates are to be asked to sign statements declaring that they do not have criminal records prior to being recruited, Hsu said.
The party currently only asks executives at local chapters to sign such a statement, but would in the future ask executives working at its Taipei headquarters to also sign the document, he said.
Ko told the Wednesday news conference that some TPP members have noted that rather than examining the party with a “magnifying glass,” its rivals are scrutinizing it with an “electronic microscope.”
The TPP is not a large organization that can fund an ethics department, and thus, as a “mid-sized institution,” outsourcing the task of scrutinizing executives was a sensible move, Ko said.
However, Ko said he is against a blanket removal policy for those that have criminal records, and that he believes standards should vary according to the party member’s rank.
“We are still trying to come up with a differentiating system,” he said.
At the news conference, Ko was asked by reporters whether the TPP intends to deal with friends and families of executives or public servants potentially involved in a conflict of interest.
The question came amid reports that boyfriend of Hsinchu Mayor Ann Kao (高虹安), a TPP member, allegedly tried to pressure a director in Kao’s administration to let him handle a bidding process, as he was trying to secure a bid for a private contractor to organize the joint Hsinchu City and County New Year’s Eve event last year.
When the director objected, he allegedly suggested that the official should resign.
Ko said that he had personally been informed about the incident and could relate to why the individual had engaged in the alleged behavior given the circumstances at the time, adding: “I do not think there were any problems.”
Kao has prepared evidence defending her and her administration, and people should wait and listen to what both sides have to say before jumping to any conclusions, Ko said.
Additional reporting by Huang Ching-hsuan
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