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COA sees record number of impeachments

TAIPEI -- The Council of Agriculture (COA) has the highest number of officials impeached among ministries or ministry-level agencies in the Cabinet this year, a Control Yuan member said yesterday.

As of Dec. 5, the Control Yuan had impeached 41 officials in 18 cases this year, said Lin Chu-liang, a member of the government watchdog, when he and his colleagues went to the Executive Yuan for an annual visit.

The COA had six of its current or former officials impeached this year, followed by five in the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Lin said, adding that ministers in charge should review these cases and prevent similar violations from happening in the future.

Lin also pointed out that the Control Yuan was still awaiting responses from government agencies censured in several cases in the past, including 54 involving the Cabinet, as of the end of November.

He suggested that Premier Jiang Yi-huah and ministers present during the visit should take a more proactive attitude in dealing with problems highlighted by the Control Yuan through censure.

According to the Control Yuan's website, the 41 impeached also include officials in local governments, judges and the Control Yuan's own secretary general, Chen Feng-yi.

Chen was impeached in July for destroying documents that had not expired, in contravention of the Archives Act.

Chen's case now sits in the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission under the Judicial Yuan, which will decide the disciplinary action to be taken.

The commission suspended a review of Chen's case after prosecutors began a criminal investigation on him.

Other notable impeachments this year include former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih in June and Nantou Magistrate Lee Chao-ching in September.

Lin Yi-shih resigned in June 2012 after he was accused of corruption, and was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison for using his power to threaten people for money and possessing unaccountable assets in April.

He was impeached in July, but a review of administrative disciplinary action, which could include fines, was suspended as his corruption case is back in the court system after prosecutors decided to appeal.

Lee has been suspended since November 2012 on corruption allegations and was indicted in March, leading to the Ministry of the Interior sending his case to the Control Yuan.

No decisions have been made on the administrative disciplinary action to be taken in Lee's case, according the Control Yuan website.

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