Graft case urged against DPP chiefs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2007, 12:00am

KMT lawmakers react to media allegations of corruption

Kuomintang legislators have demanded a prosecutor charge three of Taiwan's ruling-party heavyweights with corruption, giving a new twist to the high-profile scandal plaguing the Democratic Progressive Party.

'Now that we have the evidence, prosecutor Chen Jui-jen must indict them within a month or we will sue you for negligence in line with the criminal code,' KMT legislator Chu Feng-tzu told a news conference held with party colleagues.

Mr Chen was responsible for charging President Chen Shui-bian's wife, Wu Shu-chen, with embezzling NT$14.8 million (HK$3.5 million) in special state funds in an indictment that rocked the island late last year. Thousands of Taiwanese politicians and officials receive such special monthly allowances for public affairs spending.

KMT lawmakers were responding to reports in the island's United Daily News and the Taiwanese edition of Hong Kong's Next Magazine that Vice-President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien, Premier Su Tseng-chang and Presidential Secretary-General Chiou I-jen are alleged to have misused special allowances.

The magazine said Ms Lu and Mr Chiou provided false receipts to account for spending. Next published several receipts it alleged were supplied by the pair for expenses ranging from medical bills to a NT$30 purchase of pickled lettuce. The United Daily News said Mr Su was also suspected of embezzling funds.

The allegations gave the opposition ammunition to counter attacks launched by the DPP against the KMT since its former leader Ma Ying-jeou was charged with embezzling NT$11 million in special allowances during his stint as Taipei mayor between 1998 and 2006.

Quoting an anti-corruption centre source, the newspaper said investigation of the first lady last year had yielded evidence suggesting the three used the special allowances for personal outlays.

Ms Lu said she knew nothing about the so-called receipts and demanded to know the reason for the allegations. 'I wonder why there is such an allegation, especially when it happens ahead of the party primaries for the presidential election,' she said. Registration for the DPP primaries begins on Monday.

Mr Su declined to say whether he had misused allowances. Mr Chiou was not available for comment.

KMT secretary-general Wu Den-yih said the judicial authorities should spare no effort in pressing charges against the three.

Items queried:

Vice-President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien: bottled pickled lettuce, corn salad, cellphone prepaid cards, department store and hypermarket items.

Premier Su Tseng-chang: furniture, cabinets and books.

Presidential secretary-general Chiou I-jen: books and medical bills.