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Former labor minister questioned
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-30 04:43 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei was questioned by the Ministry of Justice’s Agency Against Corruption Wednesday about allegations of corruption he made after resigning last week.

Pan tendered his resignation on July 24 following magazine allegations about an affair with a secretary, but he later said he had been forced to leave because he stood in the way of some officials making money. He also complained about collusion between senior officials and businesses, without elaborating.

In an apparently related development, the heads of the anti-corruption and the accounting departments at the Ministry of Labor were removed from their positions, the Chinese-language United Evening News reported.

The paper also alleged that the case Pan was referring to centered on a project by a professional training center in Taishan, New Taipei City. A new complex would cost more than NT$100 million (US$3.3 million), but Pan ruled it was too costly, so he blocked the construction and removed the officials in charge last February, when the MOL was founded to succeed the Council of Labor Affairs, the paper wrote.

Because the former minister failed to name names or to specify details, MOL staff felt unsure about their future, reports said. The government might be planning to order a full-scale review of practices inside the MOL and to pay close attention to the operations of its departments, according to the United Evening News report.

Vice Labor Minister Chen Yi-min said the MOL was cooperating with the investigation by the AAC, which reportedly questioned Pan as a witness. However, he also expressed the hope that the case could be quickly dealt with before it influenced the mood of staff inside the ministry.

The AAC let Pan go around noon Wednesday and said it would alert prosecutors to the case if there was any need, reports said. Seven government officials were apparently under observation, according to a magazine.

Pan told reporters he did not intend to harm his former colleagues at the MOL, adding he would not make any comments about individuals or about individual cases.

The investigation followed remarks by Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay Tuesday that her ministry was interested in the case.

Pan has been criticized in the media for only making allegations about practices inside the MOL after he resigned instead of trying to put the situation right.

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