Thu, Jul 12, 2012 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: The SID needs to show its teeth

“Are prosecutors really probing the case?”

This is a question that is likely to be on many people’s minds in light of the investigation into corruption charges against former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世).

Lingering pessimism among members of the public is clear from a recent survey in which 63.4 percent of respondents said they have no confidence in President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) promises to crack down on corrupt officials, or to probe corruption scandals involving state-run companies. The survey, conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research, showed a mere 26.8 percent believed in Ma’s ability to promote “clean government.”

The skeptics have their reasons to doubt the Special Investigation Division’s (SID) determination to get to the bottom of the alleged corruption scandal as days turn into weeks since the allegations about Lin first erupted into public view on June 27. It appears prosecutors are still dragging their feet.

Granted, State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) on Monday stated that there would be no limit to the investigation into the corruption charges against Lin. However, many cannot help but wonder whether the pace of the investigation means investigators might reach a dead end before they get their hands on any damning evidence.

The SID already raised eyebrows after it was reported last week that Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), head of Ti Yung Co and the key suspect who has accused Lin of accepting a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) in 2010 and then asking for a further NT$83 million last year, had turned himself in to the SID before the Chinese-language Next Magazine published Chen’s allegations against Lin on June 27. The revelation ran contrary to the SID’s initial claim that it only learned about Chen and his allegations after the issue hit the newsstands.

The SID then again drew curious glances as it was seen half-heartedly starting its investigation. It did not summon Lin for questioning until July 1 — three days after the allegations against him first surfaced — prompting speculation that a 72-hour window had given plenty of time to dispose of incriminating evidence.

The latest chapter in the saga was yesterday’s report in Next Magazine accusing Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) of playing a role in the alleged corruption. This came on top of claims on Monday by TV commentator Hu Chung-hsin (胡忠信) on a political talk show that he had received tips from an informer claiming that another high-ranking official might also be involved in the case of alleged corruption, many cannot help but wonder why it is that outside parties such as media outlets and media figures appear to know more about the case than the SID does.

All these doubts demonstrate people’s lack of confidence in the SID and their doubt over its political neutrality.

The SID should take this case as an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. It can only be hoped that the SID’s performance will exceed people’s expectations and restore the public’s confidence in the nation’s justice system.

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