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Administrative Rule for property declaration No.3

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  • Last updated:2018-11-01
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Subject

Your inquiry regarding application for access to information pertaining to property declaration by public servants and whether disclosure and sharing of obtained information with third parties violates the regulations set forth in Paragraph 3, Article 13 of the Regulations Governing Examination and Browsing of Materials of Property-Declaration by Public Servants. Please take note of the explanations provided below.

Description

1.     Reply to your Official Letter No. 1020007010 issued by Taiwan High Court on October 25, 2013

2.     The legislative intent of the Act on Property-Declaration by Public Servants (hereinafter referred to as this “Act”) lies in a better understanding of the property status of public servants through public scrutiny of property declaration data to determine whether or not public servants utilize their authority to seek personal gain. This increases the trust of the public in the integrity and ethical standards of government administration and public servants. Paragraph 1, Article 13 of the Regulations Governing Examination and Browsing of Materials of Property-Declaration by Public Servants (hereinafter referred to as “Regulations Governing Examination and Browsing”) clearly stipulates that “written applications for access to property declaration information of public servants shall be submitted to the agency (institution) in charge of processing of declarations. Processing agencies (institutions) shall not deny such requests without proper cause.” Unless concrete evidence exists that indicates that scrutiny of declared information by the applicant poses a danger to the life and personal safety of the declarant or the applicant applies for access for improper purposes, property declaration information of public servants shall be subject to public scrutiny (excluding age, personal ID No., plot numbers, building numbers, car licenses, or engine numbers).

3.     As for the nature of the declared information, it mostly covers past property records and is therefore not representative of the current property status of the declarant. From the perspective of protection of personal privacy, the listing of such information as official secrets is therefore not very beneficial and hinders the safekeeping and archiving of official documents. Pursuant to the regulations set forth in this Act, the property declaration information that may be accessed by the public and is provided independently by the declarant must be consistent with the results of audits conducted by Civil Service Ethics Agencies (institutions) in charge of processing of declarations. Since information provided by the declarant is available for public scrutiny, it seems unnecessary to list related inquiry data as confidential.

4.     All agencies (institutions) accepting property declarations shall conduct inspections on the case-by-case and proportionate bases for untruthful property declarations or unusual increments and decrements of properties. The term “case-by-case inspections” shall include petitions or written or verbal statement of names of declarants by informants and specification of false declarations or suspected corruption, instances of lifestyles and consumption of declarants obviously exceeding their salaries, and other evidence indicating false declarations or suspected corruption. This is clearly stipulated in Paragraph 1, Article 11 of this Act and Paragraph 1, Article 7 of Regulations Governing Examination and Browsing. Where citizens formally request verification of declared contents upon scrutiny of property declaration information of public servants, the agency (institution) in charge of processing of declarations shall initiate inspections in a prompt manner in accordance with the aforementioned regulations where the criticized contents conform to the aforementioned conditions or raised doubts and relevant evidence indicate false declarations by the declarant or suspected corruption with the goal of realizing the prevention of corruption of this law. Official letters No.0940038768, 0991113834, and 1001103243 issued by this Ministry on October 31, 2005, November 26, 2010, and April 13, 2011, respectively, may be cited as reference.

5.     To sum up, the legislative intent of this law lies in the promotion of transparency and openness of property held by public servants and allows public scrutiny of such information. All declared data can be accessed by the general public and the listing of such information as official secrets is not necessary. Where citizens formally request verification of declared contents upon scrutiny of property declaration information of public servants, the agency (institution) in charge of processing of declarations shall initiate inspections in a prompt manner in accordance with relevant regulations where the criticized contents indicate false declarations by the declarant. The purpose stated in your letter, namely the disclosure of property information of the declarant to a third party by the applicant as evidence for a report on suspected false declaration by the declarant, seems appropriate. The applicant should therefore not be considered in violation of the regulations set forth in Subparagraph 3, Paragraph 3, Article 13 of the Examination and Browsing Regulations.

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