The Taiwan High Court yesterday agreed with a lower court in finding two former officials not guilty of defrauding the government of US$500,000 of secret diplomatic funds used to promote diplomatic relations.
The court maintained that former National Security Council secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and former deputy minister of foreign affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) did not pocket the funds.
On hearing the verdict, Chiou’s lawyer, Kao Yung-cheng (高涌誠), said his client had been vindicated by acquittals in two trials.
The process also showed that “there could be malfeasance on the part of Special Investigation Division [SID] of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office,” the lawyer said.
Kao said Chiou was detained for 50 days while the case was investigated and if he was ultimately found not guilty, he would seek national compensation for wrongful detention.
The prosecutors can still appeal the High Court’s verdict if they feel it did not properly apply the law.
In their indictment, SID prosecutors alleged that irregularities occurred in relation to a diplomatic initiative launched in 2004 by the then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, dubbed “An Ya.”
The initiative, taken after Taiwan joined the WTO, hoped to enlist the support of then-WTO secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi in blocking China from forcing Taiwan to adopt any designation at the WTO that would imply a downgrading of its sovereign status, they said.
The prosecutors said Chiou instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allocate US$500,000 to the project, but that he then kept the money for himself.
Kau was indicted on similar charges for directing the ministry to issue traveler’s checks for the same amount.
In the two former officials’ first trial, Taipei District Court judges found that the initiative was a collaboration between the National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was not decided by Chiou alone.
According to the testimony of witnesses, the traveler’s checks were cashed and signed by the representatives of the intended beneficiary and not Chiou, a statement with which the district court agreed.
The High Court upheld the district court’s findings, but it did not offer any public explanation yesterday to back its ruling.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General