NTU begins petition targeting academia corruption charges
By Joy Lee, The China Post
January 8, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- National Taiwan University President Lee Si-Chen said yesterday that heads of major national universities will propose a petition to ask prosecutors not to lay charges of corruption against professors who used false receipts to apply for reimbursement for research funds.
Lawmakers, however, said that prosecutors should use every means at their disposal to punish professors who used school funds for private purposes because professors should be held to the highest standards of society.
According to local reports, the Legislative Yuan's Education and Culture Committee discussed the false receipt cases that recently spurred heated debates from presidents from major colleges at the Yuan Sitting.
Twelve professors from four different universities worked with a company to invoice false receipts to claim reimbursements from schools, according to the Changhua District Prosecutors Office (CDPO). All the professors were charged with corruption at the end of December 2012.
Lee said “it is definitely wrong to use public funds for private matters. However, for professors who actually used the funds for research purposes while using false receipts for reimbursements, corruption charges are too severe.”
According to Lee, he and other university presidents will propose a petition to ask prosecutors not to charge those who used funds for research purposes with corruption.
Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧), who supported Lee's statement, said “the academic field will review the false receipt cases to prevent similar incidents from happening again.”
Lee said that in order to prevent similar incidents from happening, professors and research assistants had been educated on how apply for reimbursements in accordance with regulations.
Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) of the Democratic Progressive Party said that professors are people with high social status and they should obey laws accordingly. Some of them, however, used public funds for private purposes. Prosecutors should punish them severely.
According to the Ministry of Justice's (MOJ) Taipei investigation bureau, 22 people from NTU, National Chengchi University and National Taiwan Normal University are being investigated by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office over alleged corruption and forgery.
Prosecutors said that after an initial investigation, the evidence shows that over 300 professors and associate professors could also be involved in the false receipt case.
Prosecutor General Clarifies Charging Standards
Prosecutor General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) clarified the investigative and criminal charging standards regarding the false receipt cases.
Huang said “only professors who were responsible for purchase and inspection and used false receipts for reimbursements will face corruption charges.”
Prosecutors can only charge those who used school funds on research but applied for reimbursements with false receipts with forging documents, Huang said.