Kuan's attorneys challenge commission's interpretation of the law

09/03/2019 05:10 PM

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) The legal team representing National Taiwan University (NTU) President Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) in the matter of a reprimand issued by a government commission said Tuesday that the interpretation of the relevant laws was flawed.

The Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission incorrectly interpreted Article 14, Paragraph 1, of the Public Functionary Service Act, which prohibits public servants from taking side jobs but does not restrict their freedom of expression, the attorneys said.

Furthermore, Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 71, which was cited by the committee in the case, only reinforces the law that public servants are not allowed to hold part-time jobs, the legal team said in a press statement.

The lawyers were commenting on a case in which Kuan received a reprimand on Monday from the public servant disciplinary commission for working at other jobs while he serving as minister without portfolio and head of the now-defunct Council for Economic Planning and Development 2012-2015.

The commission said that during the period 2014-2015, Kuan earned NT$675,000 for editorials that he submitted "regularly" and "anonymously" to the Chinese-language weekly Next Magazine.

In addition, Kuan was criticizing the policies of the then Kuomintang administration in those editorials, which was inappropriate and immoral and damaging to the government's image and reputation, the commission said.

Citing those factors, the commission issued a reprimand, the most lenient punishment in its repertory, which may affect promotions and year-end bonuses for Kuan.

Kuan's attorneys said, however, that their client's right to submit such articles was protected under the country's Constitution, which allowed him freedom of expression, whether or not he was a public servant.

Taiwan's Constitution and Copyright Act both state that anyone can express their views anonymously in newspapers and magazines, the legal team said.

The attorneys did not say whether Kuan would appeal the commission's decision.

The case was investigated earlier by the Control Yuan, the government's watchdog branch, which decided in January to impeach the 63-year-old economist for engaging in illegal employment during his tenure as a public servant.

The case was then handed over to the Judicial Yuan's Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission for a decision on what punishment should be imposed on Kuan.

Since Kuan was named as NTU president, he has been plagued by allegations of misconduct that included lecturing illegally at universities in China.

(By Hsu Chih-wei, Hsiao Po-wen and Joseph Yeh)


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