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Taiwan Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih resigns amid corruption allegations

Special Investigation Division lists Lin as defendant

Taiwan Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih resigns amid corruption allegations

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih resigned Friday amid corruption allegations in a major blow for President Ma Ying-jeou’s clean image.
The Executive Yuan reportedly accepted his resignation in the latest turn of events since Next Magazine alleged Wednesday that Lin demanded and received NT$63 million (US$2.1 million) in illegal payments from Chen Chi-hsiang, a subcontractor to the state-run China Steel Corporation, two years ago. Earlier this year, he asked for a further NT$83 million (US$2.7 million) but Chen turned him down, Next wrote. As a result, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy and Chen told his story to the magazine.
The Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division also listed Lin as a defendant Friday.
Premier Sean Chen said Lin tendered his resignation late on Thursday and sent it in writing Friday morning, after which he approved it. Lin still defended his innocence and insisted he had not accepted any bribes, but he had decided to resign to avoid damaging the Cabinet, Chen told reporters.
Lin needed more time to prepare his defense since a legal case would not be completed in a short time, the premier said.
“Lin’s resignation proves that the Kuomintang from top to bottom has lost its faith in him,” opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislator Wu Ping-jui told reporters.
Another DPP lawmaker, Chao Tien-lin, said there was an audio recording of Ti Yung Co. Chairman Chen Chi-hsiang discussing the bribes with Lin. The two talked over the phone for at least 8 minutes on February 23, Chao said. In Next Magazine, the businessman alleged that he had visited Lin, who was an influential KMT lawmaker from the Kaohsiung area at the time, at his home several times. He had agreed to deliver bags full of US dollars in cash to Lin’s house, Next reported.
Originally, the politician told reporters that he had only met Chen once, but after a picture surfaced in the press Thursday morning showing him leaving an office building with Chen and his wife, he changed the number of meetings to four.
On Friday, the SID was still looking to question Chen about the case. The businessman had been served with several summons to appear before prosecutors, but his whereabouts were still unknown, reports said.
After questioning Chen, the SID wanted to talk to Lin while preventing the two from contacting each other to adapt their stories, reports said.
At present, the only information the SID had in its possession were the media reports about the case, prosecutors said, so it was necessary to find Chen first and then hear the defendant. Because the investigation was confidential, the SID said it could not reveal further details about the steps it was taking.
On Thursday evening, Lin went to the Shihlin Prosecutors Office to lodge a libel complaint against Next and Chen. The politician insisted he had never asked for or received any bribes.
As evidence in his favor, he cited a measure by the Kaohsiung City Government’s Environmental Protection Bureau ordering CSC to stop doing business with Ti Yung because of the latter’s dismal environmental record. Lin said that since Kaohsiung was ruled by the DPP, it was unlikely to have followed any recommendation from a KMT government official like him.
President Ma Ying-jeou respected and agreed with Lin’s choice to resign, a presidential spokesperson said. The corruption allegations struck a major blow to the Ma administration’s reputation, since Ma has always prided himself on being a clean politician.
Earlier, the president said government officials had to maintain a clean image and there could be no grey area where corruption was concerned. The Presidential Office thanked Lin for his years of effort on behalf of the government and the KMT legislative caucus.
Lin was the youngest KMT vice chairman ever and also served as a senior caucus official before joining the Cabinet earlier this year.


Updated : 2021-04-11 08:32 GMT+08:00