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Legislative motion calls on Academia Sinica head to quit

2016/04/27 20:59:56

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) A cross-party motion urging Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) to resign was approved by the Legislature's Culture and Education Committee Wednesday.

Five Kuomintang and three Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers signed the motion, which said Wong's suspected role in the OBI Pharma stocks scandal had damaged the reputation of the nation's highest academic institute and tainted the name of Taiwan's bio-technology industry.

Wong has been listed as a possible defendant by prosecutors probing his alleged sale and his daughter's ownership of OBI Pharma shares.

In the legislative motion, lawmakers noted that Wong's predecessor, Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tze (李遠哲), had also urged him to step down to facilitate the investigation.

The motion was initiated by KMT lawmakers Wu Chih-yang, Lin Te-fu, Chiang Nai-hsin, Chen Shei-saint and Ko Chih-en and DPP legislators Huang Kuo-shu, Su Chiao-hui and Wu Szu-yao.

In the face of mounting pressure for him to resign, Wong said that if he stepped down now, it would create "personnel turmoil and administrative chaos" at Academia Sinicia.

"We would have to call a provisional advisory meeting to begin a process of selecting a new president, which could last as long as six months," Wong told lawmakers.

Wong's term of office expires in October this year. An Academia Sinica advisory committee recently shortlisted three candidates who will be referred to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for selection of a replacement for Wong.

During a question-and-answer session at the Legislature Wednesday, Wong admitted for the first time that he owned some shares of OBI Pharma, in addition to his daughter's 3 million shares that he said were a "gift" from him.

Wong said he had put some funds into a trust operated by Charles Chang, OBI Pharma chairman who is now also a possible defendant in the case. "Chang invested my funds in two companies, which to my knowledge did not include OBI Pharma, but I later found out that the two companies had investments in OBI Pharma," Wong said.

He made the disclosure after being pressed by KMT lawmaker Chen Shei-saint and also acknowledged that he had made "some profits" from his OBI Pharma shares.

Wong said he has submitted all the relevant data to prosecutors, and was confident he had done nothing illegal.

"That's my story," he said. "Of course, it's another matter how prosecutors will look at this. I'm ready for a judicial judgment on the issue. I believe the evidence will show the truth."

(By Chen Chih-chung and S.C. Chang)