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Chen paints fund dispute as karma

Chen paints fund dispute as  karma

President Chen Shui-bian said in a recent interview with CNN he regretted the spate of corruption scandals involving the first family and key government officials but believed the trials will show he and his wife are innocent.
Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen is accused of pocketing NT$14 million from the state affairs fund allocated for Chen's discretionary use.
"It is regretful,”Chen told the CNN program“TalkAsia”aired 8:30 a.m. Saturday.“Many things shouldn't have happened but they happened anyway. But I believe that our judiciary branch will prove that we are innocent and history will clear my name.”
Chen acknowledged that only he is entitled to use the special state affairs fund but emphasized that not a single penny has gone into private pockets.
Rather, he reiterated he has used the fund to conduct secret diplomatic and military operations as empowered by the Constitution.
Seeking to defend his integrity, Chen pointed out that he volunteered to cut his salary in half soon after he took office in May 2000. The practice, he noted, saved the state coffers at least NT$40 million in the last years.
"It makes no sense I would take the trouble of collecting more than 700 receipts in the last five years just to claim NT$14 million on the fund and put it into my pocket,”Chen said.
He attributed the fund dispute to what he called the flawed budget system he inherited from the former Kuomintang administration. Under the system, different government officials are given different amounts of special allowance a year. They have to present receipts to claim half of the allowance and collect the other half without any proof. Almost all recipients including former Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou consider the allowance part of their income and fail to return surplus fund to the state coffers.
Chen said he agreed with Premier Su Tseng-chang that it is better to treat the allowance dispute as“a shared historic karma,”meaning let bygone be bygone and new rules be made if the allowance should exist and how it should be used and supervised.
"It (the allowance) is not just an individual case,”Chen said.“The problem actually lies within the system.“This is a phenomenon during the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. Maybe we could call it a growing pain on our road to democracy.”
Regarding his son-in-law Chao Chien-ming who is sentenced to six years in prison for insider trading, Chen said Chao is appealing the verdict and believed that eventually the evidence will speak for the truth.


Updated : 2021-05-13 08:43 GMT+08:00