Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan seeking Kiribati explanation on missing aid fund (update)

Taiwan seeking Kiribati explanation on missing aid fund (update)

Taipei, Oct. 14 (CNA) Taiwan is concerned about an aid fund to its Pacific ally Kiribati that has reportedly gone missing, and is asking the Kiribati government to explain what has happened to the money, foreign affairs officials said Tuesday. "We have expressed our concerns to the Kiribati government and asked for an explanation," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao. Taiwan has given the funding to Kiribati, she said, adding that the issue in question is Kiribati's internal management of the money. Kao was responding to a report by Radio New Zealand International that Taiwan is asking Kiribati to explain what has happened to the US$1.5 million in aid. Republic of China Ambassador to Kiribati Abraham Chu said that "the money was intended for the purchase of a landing craft to service (the) outer islands that should have been in operation for several months," the report said. The Kiribati Independent reported that the Kiribati government said "the money was wired to an overseas account, but apparently not that of the boat builder," according to the report. Kiribati's commerce minister said that "the money has been stolen and there was nothing the government could do, but Kiribati police are now investigating," the report added. Kao, however, said that Taiwan gave a check for A$1.7 million (US$1.5 million) to Kiribati in January at an open ceremony, rebutting the report that said the fund was wired to a bank account. Kao said the lost money was not as much as reported, but added that Taiwan is seeking more details. A judicial investigation in Kiribati is underway to find out what happened to the money, she added. Meanwhile, a foreign affairs official who preferred to remain anonymous said that Taiwan learned of the missing funds earlier this month and took the issue up with Kiribati senior government officials. According to preliminary information provided by the senior government officials, the Taiwanese official said, about A$1 million of the aid fund went missing. The Kiribati government has also formed a task force to investigate the issue. As of press time, Kiribati's embassy in Taiwan said it had no comment. Kiribati is one of Taiwan's 22 diplomatic allies, most of which are Pacific island nations and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. (By Tang Pei-chun and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-10-20 21:52 GMT+08:00