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Former vice president found not guilty of special fund abuse

2012/07/02 23:09:41

Taipei, July 2 (CNA) The Taipei District Court on Monday found three former government officials, including a former vice president, not guilty of misusing discretionary funds, and it dismissed the case.

The court ruled that former Vice President Annette Lu, former Premier Yu Shyi-kun, and former Foreign Minister Mark Chen did not improperly use their special allowances and discretionary state affairs funds.

Six of the staff members who handled the funds, however, were sentenced to prison terms of between two to six months for forging documents, but their sentences were suspended, according to the court's ruling.

The court found that both Lu and Yu did not actively seek to claim the state affairs funds -- set aside for Presidential Office officials -- during their tenure as vice president and presidential office secretary-general, respectively.

Also, their work-related expenses, which the discretionary funds are supposed to cover, were greater than the sum of the funds they allegedly embezzled, according to the ruling.

As for the alleged misuse by Chen and Yu of special allowance funds -- the discretionary fund available to all senior government officials -- during their tenure as foreign minister and premier, respectively, the court cited the previous acquittal of similar charges against then Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou in 2007.

President Ma was prosecuted for misusing his special allowance fund during his tenure as Taipei mayor from 1998 to 2006, but was acquitted in 2007.

Lu said in a statement that the case was the result of a "historical glitch" and "a political feud" between the two major political parties -- the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Lu, Yu and Chen are all members of the DPP. The three politicians were indicted in 2007 on suspicions of misusing the funds, while their staff members were charged with helping them collect fraudulent receipts for use in claiming money from the funds.

(By Huang Yi-han and Ann Chen)