TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Control Yuan on Tuesday impeached National Taiwan University President Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) in a vote of seven to four over his combination of a paid function with a government position.
Kuan was originally elected head of Taiwan’s most prestigious university early last year, but a public outcry over an apparent conflict of interest prevented him from taking office until this month after the government gave up its opposition.
Kuan had been serving as an independent board member at a company part of the Fubon Financial Holding, one of whose top owners also sat on the NTU selection committee which picked him as the school’s president.
However, the Control Yuan’s decision Tuesday was focused on another controversy surrounding Kuan. When he served in the Cabinet first as minister without portfolio and as chief of the National Development Council and of its predecessor, he also wrote opinion pieces in Next Magazine under a pen name for NT$50,000 (US$1,600) a month, for a total of NT$4 million over seven years, the Apple Daily reported.
Members of the Control Yuan said Kuan had started working with Next Magazine before he joined the Cabinet, but failed to stop once he became a minister. They also pointed out that even though he had said he had never served as an employee of the magazine, he did not offer his writings for free and therefore could be subject to disciplinary measures. Kuan’s cooperation with the publication was “fixed, continuous and long-term,” the Control Yuan said.
In his first reaction, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said he would await the outcome of the procedure before handling the issue. Following the Control Yuan ruling, the topic was likely to proceed for review by a committee in charge of disciplinary measures against government officials, reports said.
Of the 11 Control Yuan members who voted, six had been appointed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and five by former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), with one of the latter voting in favor of the impeachment, according to the Apple Daily.