Lawmaker Again Attacks Premier
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ A lawmaker belonging to the ruling Nationalist Party charged today that a Cabinet official sought to protect Premier Yu Kuo-hwa by covering up a bribe attempt.
The allegation was the latest in a series of accusations launched against Yu by lawmaker Wu Yung-hsiung.
Next week, the Nationalist Party will hold a key party congress during which the premier’s conservative policies may come under attack by younger politicians.
Opinion polls indicate Yu, 74, is not as popular as other Taiwan leaders, and some Nationalist lawmakers have called for his resignation.
Wu claimed that Wang Chang-ching, secretary general of the Cabinet, was ordered to bribe him on Yu’s behalf.
The lawmaker claimed Tuesday that Yu told Wang to pay $11,360 to silence Wu from attacking the premier during sessions of the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s highest lawmaking body.
Wu has repeatedly accused Yu of having an affair with a prostitute, but has failed to provide details other than a woman’s name. Yu has denied the allegation.
Wang has denied that the money he paid Wu was a bribe. He said the cash was a personal gift to help finance the lawmaker’s trip to visit labor welfare programs in Japan and the United States.
Newspapers have reported that Wu’s accusation has embarrassed Yu’s supporters as well as his opponents, who fear that the allegations may be interpreted as part of a plot to force Yu to step down.
Today, Wu displayed a bundle of cash he claimed was handed to him by Wang in April. He said he repaid the money Tuesday by check, but did not make clear why he had waited two months.
Wu said he used his own money for the trip to Japan and the United States.
The lawmaker refused to answer questions today as he left the Legislative Yuan, other than to deny that his accusations were part of a plot to topple Yu.
Yu said at a weekly Cabinet meeting Thursday that he was not aware of Wang’s payment to Wu.