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New bill would expand background checks to political appointees

Political appointees will be added to the list of officials required to undergo background checks before taking office if the Legislative Yuan approves a pending bill, an Investigation Bureau official said Wednesday.
Existing regulations published by the Ministry of Civil Service only require background checks on career civil servants in charge of security affairs or affairs involving major interests of the country, noted Pan Hung-mou, a section chief at the bureau.
A draft law proposed by the ministry, which has been forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for consideration, would expand the checks to all types of civil servants, including political appointees, Pan said.
Speaking during a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, Pan was responding to a call by opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wong Chin-chu that the Investigation Bureau conduct comprehensive checks on all Cabinet members, especially on whether they are citizens of or hold permanent residency rights in a foreign country.
Wong and the DPP have challenged the allegiance of certain officials in the Kuomintang (KMT) administration who either once held U.S. permanent residency rights, allegedly still hold a U.S. green card, or have applied for a U.S. green card.
In particular, the DPP has demanded the resignation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco H.L. Ou, who obtained U.S. permanent resident status in 2005 when he was the ROC ambassador to Guatemala, but renounced the status one month before assuming his ministerial position May 20.
Also Wednesday, Wong questioned the Investigation Bureau's failure to conduct background checks on Ou while he served as an ambassador.
Wu Ying, deputy director-general of the bureau, explained that the regulations governing background checks on targeted civil servants took effect on Aug. 29, 2003, before Ou was appointed ambassador to Guatemala.
In addition, such checks are usually conducted before, not after, the officials assume office, Wu said.

Updated : 2021-05-06 20:51 GMT+08:00