Taiwan cabinet official resigns amid bribery probeAgence France-Presse
TAIPEI–A top official in the Taiwanese cabinet quit Friday, days after prosecutors launched a probe into claims he solicited and took bribes in the latest graft scandal to hit the island.
Premier Sean Chen said he accepted the resignation of cabinet secretary-general Lin Yi-shih, who is under investigation for allegedly taking Tw$63 million ($2.1 million) from a businessman in 2010 to help him gain a contract with a state firm.
Lin, a heavyweight of the ruling Kuomintang party, was also accused of soliciting another bribe of Tw$83 million this year from the same businessman, who refused and took the story to the media, according to weekly magazine Next.
“Lin maintains his innocence but he doesn’t want to cause troubles to the cabinet and he needs time to deal with the judicial procedure,” Chen told reporters.
The cabinet official has denied the allegations, and filed a defamation suit against both the businessman and the Next magazine on Thursday.
Lin held the cabinet’s fourth most senior position and was in charge of its administrative affairs.
Observers said the case could deal a heavy blow to the government of President Ma Ying-jeou, who came to power in 2008 pledging to fight corruption after his predecessor was implicated in several graft cases.
Taiwan has been rocked by a recent string of high-profile corruption cases implicating top officials, prompting the Ma government to set up a special anti-corruption body last year.
The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party demanded Ma apologise to the public over the Lin case, and urged prosecutors to speed up their investigation.