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VAC minister defends appointment of retired generals to coveted posts

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Retired generals who hold positions at private companies invested by the cabinet-level Veterans Affairs Commission (VAC) are not “fat cats,” VAC Minister Tung Hsiang-lung (董翔龍) said yesterday.

Tung made the clarification in response to a Control Yuan probe result released Wednesday that accused the VAC of political patronage in its appointing of retired military personnel to top managing positions at VAC-affiliated companies.

These retired military personnel are now receiving even higher pay then in their previous posts in the military, the Control Yuan report said.

The government watchdog agency warned that the VAC's move has dealt a serious blow to the government's image.

Asked to comment, Tung yesterday said the VAC decided to offer these retired generals management positions at its companies because all of them have rich experience in leadership and management accrued from their service in the military.

All of them have already waived their rights to receive a monthly retirement pension before taking up the positions in VAC-invested companies, he added, stressing that the decision has saved millions of taxpayer money.

Tung added that these retired generals have to endure tremendous pressure because they are now responsible for the operation of private companies.

So far, they have all done a good job, as the latest study shows that these VAC-associated companies have an average 8 percent annual profit and a combined annual turnover of NT$40 billion over the past few years, he added.

According to the Control Yuan report, between 2010 to Oct. 2013, 33 of a total of 34 people the VAC sent to 12 of its affiliated companies to serve posts as senior managers are retired generals.

All of them have an annual salary of more than NT$1.5 million or above, and one has an annual income as high as NT$4.3 million, the report said.

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