Friday, August 1, 2008

The Control Yuan Should Start By Investigating the General Budget

The Control Yuan Should Start By Investigating the General Budget
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
August 1, 2008

The Control Yuan, which has been in limbo for three and a half years, resumes operation today. Will Control Yuan officials be able to bring both high and low-ranking officials to justice? Are Control Yuan President Wang Chien-hsuan's teeth as sharp as legend has it? We will know soon enough. For the moment, the best touchstone may be the Chen administration's string of scandals. The Bureau of Audit has just completed its final audit of the central government's accounts. The Chen Shui-bian administration's fiscal extravagance, abuse of power, and misappropriation of funds, have left the public shocked and incredulous. Who should answer for this? We leave that to the new batch of Control Yuan officials. We hope they will see that justice is done.

The Ministry of Audit has released its 2007 report on the Chen Shui-bian administration. The Chen administration accumulated 800 billion in debt in five years. Most frightening of all, the central government took the lead in violating the law by illegally diverting funds. Many projects that had been approved simply could not be implemented. The result was holes everywhere. The arms dealer Taiwan Goal is accused of "sabotaging the military and the government, violating military orders, and undermining the separation of authority in the arms procurement process." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is accused of mishandling the PNG case and other foreign aid cases, of "lacking risk controls" and of "misappropriating funds." The Government Information Office PR campaigns "made illegal use of the budget." The Ministry of Education's campaign to rename the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall made use of funds "without any legal basis."

The aforementioned politically-oriented cases have become the focus of public attention. In addition, the Bureau of Audit report mentioned flood control projects which immediately impact public safety. The Chen Shui-bian administration implemented only 60% of the budget. It implemented less than 50% of the budget for groundwater controls. It implemented only 16% of the budget for the flood control project planning. Its reservoir dredging was counterproductive. The more it dredged, the more it silted the reservoirs. Over 95% of its water treatment projects fell behind schedule or were halted altogether. Most outrageous of all were flood detention pond projects which featured pavilions and hiking trails, items diametrically opposed to the objective of flood control. In addition, the Program for Promoting Academic Excellence in Universities program was reduced to a meaningless, egalitarian "Every School is Above Average" award. The Council for Cultural Planning's budget for the construction of the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts was used to fund an arts festival. The Bureau of Audit has also submitted this case to the Control Yuan for investigation.

The DPP has expressed no shame whatsoever for the mess it left behind. Instead, it immediately launched a counterattack. It blasted the imminent prosecution of Chen administration malfeasance as "KMT dirty tricks." It alleged that its only motive was to draw attention away from the Ma administration's "inept disaster relief." Green Camp legislators alleged that the Control Yuan would become a tool of a Ma administration campaign to "liquidate and persecute the Green Camp." Is this the case? Absolutely not.

The DPP's perspective is the traditional "Blue vs. Green Power Struggle" perspective. According to the DPP's logic, national policy is either Blue or Green, it is never right or wrong. Forget the Rule of Law, because there is no such thing. The Chen Shui-bian government did nothing but stonewall for eight long years. It refused to listen to the views of either the political opposition or the general public. It refused to respect the nation's system of checks and balances or external oversight. Taiwan suffered a form of political autism and regression. The crux of the problem was the DPP's total dependence upon Pan Green Political Correctness. Pan Green Political Correctness permitted the DPP to get away with anything. This eventually led to the DPP's self-destruction. The result was government paralysis and the undermining of the nation's values. The current change in ruling parties proves that the public has rejected the "It's Either Blue or Green" premise, but instead looks to the return of right and wrong. Is the DPP so obtuse it still doesn't get it?

For the past eight years, the government has been a one-man show. Chen Shui-bian's word was the last word. All dissent was eliminated. The Bureau of Audit occasionally dared to tell the truth. But the Control Yuan had been put in limbo. Thereofore no matter how hard they tried, all they could do was talk. Constitutionally speaking, the Legislative Yuan, Executive Yuan, and Control Yuan are responsible for the government's budget. These three divisions of government are the gatekeepers, in that order. Say the Legislative Yuan takes a dive. Say the Executive Yuan follows suit with wanton abuse of power and extravagance. If the Control Yuan cannot hold the line, then the public can only await the deluge. If people do not want to become slaves to government debt, they must support the Control Yuan in its investigation of corrupt officials who abuse their power, and demand that they bear responsibility.

Without Control Yuan members performing follow-up investigations, the Bureau of Audit reports will be nothing more than pages filled with numbers. No official will pay the price for page after page of outrageous acts. Pan Blue legislators have defaulted on their responsibility to check Pan Green malfeasance. This has encouraged executive branch fearlessness. During eight years of Chen Shui-bian rule, their fearlessness reached a lawless extreme. Officials consciously violated the law. They did whatever they felt like. Nothing could be done about their behavior before the change in ruling parties. But if after the change in ruling parties officials continue to get off scot-free, how can we establish a responsible and ethical officialdom?

The Bureau of Audit accounts are merely the tip of the iceberg. The larger story is absurd beyond belief. Who dug us into this five year, 800 billion financial hole? Control Yuan officials must complete an in-depth investigation. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

2008.08.01 02:59 am









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