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Ko wants to know officials’ itineraries

New rules to govern meals and assets for department heads only

Ko wants to know officials’ itineraries

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Senior members of the Taipei City Government could lose their job if they fail to accurately report their official itinerary, reports said Saturday.
The sanction forms part of a new set of anti-corruption measures likely to be enacted on the orders of Mayor Ko Wen-je after the Lunar New Year next month. A special “Clean Politics Committee” would also be formed to investigate eventual future and maybe also past scandals, reports said.
The commissioners of the city departments will also have to let the Department of Government Ethics know where they have meals, though that does not include family meals. The new measure will only apply to the department heads, because demanding such detail from lower civil servants might amount to a breach of privacy, officials said.
Since the commissioners were appointed by the mayor personally, he can set more stringent demands, Department of Government Ethics chief Liou Ming-wu said. All department heads had signed a charter about clean politics and transparency, otherwise they would not have been allowed to join the team, he added.
While family meals were exempt from the new requirements, commissioners would still have to report lunches and dinners with friends, union officials and professional organizations and even attendances at weddings, Liou said.
The commissioners would also have to register their assets. If they failed to do so or if they gave wrong information and violated the rules, they would be dismissed, and if any illegal activity was involved, they would be referred to the judiciary, Liou said.
The newly appointed secretary-general of the city government, Su Li-chiung, was planning to discuss the details of the registration of meals and assets with the city’s legal advisers, reports said.
Ko himself reportedly said he was not interested in where his commissioners were eating, but the information could be relevant if problems emerged down the road.
Department of Education Commissioner Tang Chih-min said that with the city government only having been in office for ten days, he spent most of his time inside reading and signing documents. That would change later on, but he didn’t feel the need to report his whereabouts would impact on his work. The education chief rejected comparisons to a parent checking up on little children.
Other department heads also expressed their approval of the new rules, which were likely to be enacted in mid-February, reports said.
Ko, who was sworn in on December 25, has been noted for his rapid action, ordering the removal of a bus lane and the tearing down of illegal structures.
Pictures appeared in the media Saturday of Ko standing inside a Mass Rapid Transit train alone, without bodyguards or aides, raising concerns for his safety. Aides said police would take all necessary precautions to safeguard the mayor’s safety. On weekends, Ko would sometimes travel alone.


Updated : 2021-09-25 11:05 GMT+08:00