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Prosecution probing alleged National Security Bureau corruption

2011/08/10 19:31:42

Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) Prosecution authorities have launched an investigation into alleged irregularities involving some of the National Security Bureau's (NSB's) foreign-based officials.

The Agency Against Corruption (AAC) has also stepped up its checking of all foreign-based officials in a bid to prevent corruption, including illegal claims of subsidies for family members.

The crackdown came after local media reported that some foreign-based NSB officials are suspected of having made false claims of living expenses for family members.

NSB Director-General Tsai De-sheng has also failed to alert the bureau's auditing officers or ask the AAC to investigate, according to Next magazine.

AAC Deputy Director-General Chang Hung-mou declined to confirm the report, saying that he had "not yet received any information."

In a press release, the NSB said it had found that some NSB officials have "over-claimed" funds "owing to misunderstanding of the relevant rules and regulations" but have since returned the money.

The NSB denied the magazine's report of "collective corruption" or "cover-ups" inside the NSB.

It said it was cooperating fully with AAC agents in their investigations into the bureau's incumbent and former officials, including those who have retired.

If any one of them are found to have been involved in any irregularities, the NSB said, "they will be dealt with according to the law and no leniency or mercy will be shown to them."

It also warned the media that if reporters disclose the identities of intelligence agents or damage their reputations, they could face lawsuits.

Chang said his agency has asked all government units to make sure none of their foreign-based officials have made false claims for government funds or claims in excess of actual spending, and to ferret out anyone who has broken the law in this regard.

Most government agencies with foreign-based staff do not have an accounts officer or anti-corruption agent in their overseas offices, leaving a loophole that can be exploited by corrupt personnel.

Chao Li-yun, a whip of the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT's) legislative caucus, said NSB ethics officials were already probing how their overseas colleagues claimed family-member subsidies between 2008 and now.

Tsai Huang-liang, executive secretary of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's legislative caucus, urged the NSB to stop its practice of "officials protecting other officials" and to work with the AAC to get to the bottom of the issue.

Wong Chin-chu, secretary-general of the DPP legislative caucus, also urged the NSB to explain to the public what really happens inside the NSB with regard to the corruption allegations.

(By Sherry Tang, Lin Chang-shun, Lu Hsin-hui, Chen Wei-ting and
S.C. Chang)