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Supreme court upholds Ma's acquittal over fund misuse suit

Supreme court upholds Ma's acquittal over fund misuse suit

The supreme court Thursday upheld President-elect Ma Ying-jeou's acquital of corruption charges, noting that Ma displayed no deception when claiming on public funds during his tenure as Taipei mayor.
Ma was indicted in February 2007 for embezzling over NT$11 million public funds budgeted at his discretionary use while running the capital city between 1998 and 2006.
The district and high courts absolved him from any wrongdoing in August 2007 and January 2008 respectively on grounds the money at issue is intended as the mayor's monthly allowance and he could decide how to use it.
At the center of the judicial dispute is a special mayoral fund worth NT$340,000 a month for which there are no set rules governing its use. Ma produced spending proof for claiming on half the fund and had the remaining half wired to his bank account, in line with tradition, but declared the second half as personal income with the nation's watchdog agency each year.
Some auditing officials testified in the Legislature the money should all be used on public purposes.
Prosecutors took the case to the supreme court, arguing that a unified interpretation of the funds is necessary. Some 6,500 government officials including the president, vice president, premier, Cabinet ministers and local administrators are entitled to the funds, whose amounts vary, and have spent the money in different manners.
Ma, who won the March 22 presidential election by landslide, will not be liable to criminal prosecution once he is sworn in May 20, unless he is charged with having committed rebellion or treason.
He resigned as KMT chairman two hours after the indictment but declared his bid for the presidency and vowed to prove his innocence through the race. Ma has attributed his judicial woes to flawed designs of the funds.



Updated : 2021-09-21 11:37 GMT+08:00