Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Presidential Office explains timing of documents probe

The Presidential Office broke its silence on a joint letter criticizing the Ma administration over the timing of a probe into 36,000 missing documents. The response, sent via TECRO, skirted substance and raised more questions than it answered

The “prodigious” amount of material and the fact that only three staffers could look into the matter are why it took almost three years before President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration announced that former senior Democratic Progressive Party officials were under investigation over missing documents, the Presidential Office said yesterday.

Seeking to clarify “apparent misunderstandings” in an open letter to Ma signed by 34 academics that was published in Chinese and English on April 10 and April 11 respectively, Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said in a letter that the case concerned events over a period of eight years, involving the offices of 17 officials serving in former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration.

“Given the prodigious number of documents that are missing and the fact that these documents were not traceable with computers, it took the Presidential Office a great deal of effort to carry out the one-by-one audit of documents and to attempt to confirm their confidentiality level,” said the letter, a copy of which was seen by the Taipei Times.

In their open letter, the academics raised questions about the timing of the announcement that the Presidential Office was handing over the investigation to the Control Yuan, coming as it did on the eve of former premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) registration for the DPP’s primaries for next year’s presidential election. Su is one of the 17 people being investigated.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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