NEWS > Taiwan/HK
Former KMT chairman appears in court as corruption trial reconvenes
2007-06-05 01:14:09 Xinhua English

BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Former Kuomintang (KMT) party chairman Ma Ying-jeou appeared in a Taiwan court for the fifth sitting of his trial on corruption charges on Tuesday, Taipei media reported.

Ma is charged with misappropriating more than 11 million Taiwan dollars (330,000 U.S. dollars) in expense funds during his tenure as mayor of Taipei.

During the four previous hearings, Ma pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court is scheduled to hear the case over six sittings and 14 witnesses will take the stand.

Ma resigned as chairman of the KMT, Taiwan's leading opposition party, after being indicted on Feb. 13, but declared that he would run for the 2008 Taiwan leadership election.

The expense funds, also known as special allowance funds, are allocated by the Taiwan authorities to executive officers and official receipts are only required for half of the funds, while the spending of the other half requires only the signature of the official.

Regulations concerning the expenditure of the special allowances have never been clear. Lu Hsiu-lien, Su Tseng-chang, Hsieh Chang-ting and Yu Shyi-kun, major leaders of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), have all been found involved in similar cases.

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