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September, 25, 2016

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7 retired generals at VAC firms suspend their pension benefits

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Seven retired generals recently hired by VAC-funded companies have voluntary suspended their retirement pensions and higher interest rate privileges before taking up their posts, the Veterans Affairs Council (VAC) said on Thursday.

VAC Minister Lee Shying-jow (李翔宙) said the VAC had long being criticized for its appointment of retired military personnel to top management positions at VAC-affiliated companies.

Some lawmakers and the government watchdog Control Yuan called out these appointments as examples of political patronage and referred to the former generals as"fat cats" because, in addition to their regular salaries, they would continue to receive monthly retirement pensions and 18-percent interest on deposits, a privilege of retired public servants.

Amid criticism, Lee said the VAC in August began to ask retired military personnel who wished to work at VAC companies to voluntarily give up their monthly retirement pensions and interest rates for the duration of their employment at the companies.

The veterans can continue to receive pensions and make use of the interest rate after they leave their posts at VAC-funded companies, he added.

According to Lee, the VAC appointed a total of 12 new managers to VAC-affiliated bus, natural gas, construction and pharmaceutical companies on Aug. 1.

Among the 12, seven are retired military personnel who are entitled to monthly pension payments and preferential savings rates. They all voluntarily signed waivers to suspend their pensions and elevated interest rates before taking up their new posts, Lee said.

Meanwhile, the VAC also noted that it was considering beefing up its performance evaluations of VAC-appointed managers to weed out those who were underperforming or unqualified.

VAC Blasted by Gov't Watchdog, Lawmakers

In 2014, the Control Yuan asked the VAC to reform the process for appointing former military personnel to VAC-funded companies, noting that these retired military personnel received even higher pay at VAC-funded companies than in their previous posts in the military. The Control Yuan warned that the VAC's move had dealt a serious blow to the government's image.

New Power Party lawmaker Freddy Lim (林昶佐) criticized the VAC for hiring retired generals who he said lacked the professional skills necessary to manage companies and were appointed due to their ties with the military.

The VAC defended its appointments, saying it decided to offer these veterans management positions due to their leadership and management experience that was accrued during military service.

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