Fri, Mar 22, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Lafayette findings `comprehensive'

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kang Ning-hsiang, right, a member of the Control Yuan investigating the Lafayette-class frigate scandal, yesterday said the investigative task force had fulfilled its duties, and that the report now would be forwarded to the Supreme Court Prosecutor General's Office.

PHOTO: CHINAG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Control Yuan (監察院) member Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥) yesterday said that the investigation into the Lafayette-class frigate scandal was comprehensive and that a full report would be forwarded to the Supreme Court Prosecutor General's Office (最高法院檢察署).

Those mentioned in the findings should address grievances to the judges at the appropriate court hearing, he added.

During the Control Yuan's investigation, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) told the investigative task force that he was not aware that the navy had intended to purchase French-made Lafayette ships rather than the previously agreed South Korean-made warships.

As a result, in the report, the former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) as well as other top former military officials were accused of usurping the president's supreme authority over defense policy by not telling the president about the changes they made for the procurement.

The Control Yuan task force also suggested that Hau and any accomplices be judged by a military court.

In response to the report, Hau on Wednesday night said that he had "nothing to hide." He also said that he reported to Lee on the entire arms-buying proposal from Paris on May 8, 1989.

"It's the end of the Control Yuan's investigation but it should be a new beginning for prosecutors to take over this case," Kang said.

"I will not respond to any argument or comment from those people who were involved in this case. In fact, the task force has interviewed every one of them individually and given them the chance to tell the truth and defend themselves. It's too late to cry out loud now. If they are not happy with the report, they'll be more than welcome to talk to the judges at the future hearings."

Kang did not say when the report will be transferred to the Supreme Court Prosecutor General's Office.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense's Department of Justice said that it is not possible for Hau to face a court marshal and that military prosecutors do not have the authorization to summon or interview him, since he is now a civilian.

Hau retired from the military when he took up the post of minister of national defense in 1989. Though he would have kept his rank as a four-star general for life, Hau had to relinquish the title and the benefits it would bring when he was offered -- and accepted -- the post of premier in 1990.

During the Lafayette-scandal period, Hau held the post of chief of the general staff.

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