• Directory of Taiwan

Prosecutor says Siew likely to be subpoenaed

Investigators say other senior KMT officials may also be questioned on use of funds

The opposition Kuomintang's vice presidential candidate Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) will be subpoenaed by the Supreme Prosecutors Office's Special Investigation Division in the near future to answer questions on how he used a special allowance during his tenure as premier, the division's spokesperson disclosed yesterday.
Not only Siew, but also KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung and KMT Secretary General Wu Den-yi are likely to be summoned on the same issue, as they were high-ranking officials in the former KMT government, according to Chen Yun-nan.
Chen made the disclosure as he confirmed to the media that investigators from his division had visited former Vice President Lien Chan (連戰) and his wife earlier this month at their residence in downtown Taipei to interrogate Lien on how he used the "state affairs funds" and special allowance, respectively, when he served as vice president and premier under the former KMT government.
"We carried out the interrogation in Lien's office out of respect for his status as a former vice president," Chen remarked.
According to the spokesperson, the division has looked into the original accounting proofs and accounting books, and has summoned witnesses to give testimony, in the cases against Lien, Siew, Wu and many other former KMT government officials.
Chen said that Lien and his wife were allowed to return home after answering inquiries from the prosecutors on how Lien had claimed reimbursement of the funds that were allocated to him every year during his tenures as premier and vice president.
The division made the disclosure after a group of ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers visited Chen to express their concern over the comparatively slow pace of the investigation of former KMT government officials, given the speed at which the probe into DPP officials' handing of similar funds was carried out.
DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni claimed that Lien had allegedly used uniform invoices from Pacific Sogo Department Store to claim reimbursements totaling NT$1.2 million from his "state affairs fund" while serving as the country's vice president. Hsieh further asked why the investigation division had yet to produce any results concerning the case.
In response, Chen told reporters that prosecutors who were assigned to the cases related to the KMT officials had been busy working on similar cases involving DPP heavyweights such as Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). They were too busy to handle all the cases at the same time, Chen said. But he promised the DPP lawmakers that the prosecutors would do their best to step up the probe into the KMT cases.
Noting that the special task force is also engaged in the investigation into the legitimacy of the KMT's sale of its assets, Chen disclosed that the division has been looking into the party's asset transaction records and relevant materials to learn more about the party's funding sources and cash flow.
The controversy over the use of the special allowance fund has engulfed thousands of former and incumbent government officials, including the KMT's presidential standard-bearer Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Ma was indicted in February this year on charges of corruption, with prosecutors claiming that his deposit of part of the special allowance into his personal account was in violation of the law. He was acquitted in August by the Taipei District Court.
The Taiwan High Court is slated to rule this Friday on the prosecutor's appeal against the preliminary verdict in Ma's case, which is likely to influence Ma's chances in the March presidential election.

Updated : 2021-04-20 13:18 GMT+08:00