Prosecutors looking into allegations of irregularities involving the presidential candidates of both the ruling and opposition parties have been doing so strictly in accordance with the law and without any bias, the nation’s top prosecutor said yesterday.
“We have been handling the cases strictly without regard for the political affiliation of any individual involved,” Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) said at a press conference.
He was responding to allegations by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that he has been “selective” in his probes, only directing them against the DPP.
In the countdown to the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been locked in a muckraking battle, accusing each other’s presidential candidate of irregularities during previous terms in office.
The DPP says President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is also chairman of the KMT, covered up a NT$15 million (US$500,000) political donation he received from Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) when he was Taipei mayor between 1998 and 2006. The DPP said the donation, made after a merger of Fubon Bank (富邦銀行) and the then-city-owned Taipei Bank (台北銀行), was in exchange for Ma’s “sellout” of Taipei Bank to Fubon at an unreasonably low price.
The DPP says prosecutors have turned a deaf ear to repeated accusations of possible irregularities involving Ma.
Meanwhile, the KMT has been leveling accusations of irregularities against DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The KMT said Tsai violated the “revolving door” rule by accepting the chair at Yu Chang Biologics Co (宇昌生技股份有限公司), now known as TaiMed Biologics Inc (中裕新藥股份有限公司), a few months after she had approved a government investment in the company in her capacity as vice premier in 2007.
Tsai’s family also made investments in the company and later sold the shares for a total profit of almost NT$20 million, the KMT says.
The “revolving door” rule bans senior government officials from working for private businesses under their supervision within three years of their leaving a government post.
In response to the charges against his office, Huang said prosecutors have already taken action to look into both cases.
“There has not been a single case we have refused to touch,” he said.
On the Fubon case, Huang said that as early as Sept. 27, after reading an op-ed piece in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper), he had asked prosecutors to study the case.
In a follow-up, several witnesses were questioned by prosecutors on Dec. 15, he said.
With regard to the Yu Chang case, prosecutors have asked the National Development Fund — the government agency responsible for making the investment — to provide them with all the relevant documents and the individuals involved would be questioned soon, Huang said.
However, Huang declined to say who would be questioned or when.
It is absolutely groundless to say that the investigation of the Yu Chang case is a form of “political persecution” against Tsai, he said.