High court acquits Ma of corruption charges

Taiwan's high court Friday acquitted oppposition Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou of all corruption charges.
This ruling removed a major obstacle for Ma to capture the 2008 presidency as assorted polls give him a solid lead to his ruling Democratic Progressive Party rival Frank Hsieh in popularity ratings.
Still, Ma may be disqualified from the race if the prosecutors choose to appeal and the supreme court finds him guilty.
Scores of KMT supporters gathered outside the courthouse, hailing the verdict with some waving the nation's flag and others chanting the slogan, "Go, Ma Ying-jeou."
Ma was indicted on February 13 for pocketing NT$11 million public funds during his tenure as Taipei mayor between 1998 and 2006. Ma relinquished his KMT chairmanship and declared his bid for the presidency two hours later.
He has insisted on his integrity and attributed his judicial woes to the flawed design of the fund at issue.
Some 6,500 government officials are quallified to claim different amounts of special allowance budgeted at their discretionary use. They need only to present receipts for claiming half the amount and consider the second half their perk.
But prosecutors said every penny of the allowance should be spent on public purposes and Ma failed to do so for the part for which spending proof is not necessary.

Updated : 2021-04-14 19:48 GMT+08:00