The Legislative Yuan’s Discipline Committee yesterday concluded that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) was not guilty of improper lobbying and that he would not be reprimanded.
The resolution was passed by seven DPP lawmakers in a meeting chaired by DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), with none of the eight Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers attending.
The 16-member committee held its fourth meeting on the case, in which Ker was accused of improper lobbying on a legal case that involved Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌).
The case later developed into the so-called “September strife,” with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) allegedly using it as a political tool to remove the legislative speaker.
Chen Shou-huang yesterday testified before the meeting and denied helping Ker to lobby prosecutors not to appeal a not-guilty verdict in a breach of trust case.
Chen said Ker never contacted him and that he did not ask the prosecutor in charge of Ker’s case not to appeal.
Tseng, who resigned amid the controversy, did not attend the meeting, nor did Huang or Wang.
However, Huang and Wang both submitted written statements to the committee, with Wang saying that he called Chen and Tseng to “remind” them about the potentially malicious prosecution.
“My telephone conversations with Chen and Tseng were not lobbying,” Wang wrote, adding that evidence obtained through illegal means should be invalidated, referring to the Special Investigation Division’s (SID) illegal wiretapping of his telephone.
Six of the eight KMT lawmakers signed in for the meeting, but all were absent when the resolution was put to a vote, committee staffers said.
The resolution, which is to be sent to a plenary session for approval, concluded that the accusations against Ker should be dropped because the convener only complained to Wang about his legal case and he had never made phone calls to judicial officials.
Ker, who had proclaimed his innocence from the beginning of the controversy, reported to the Legislative Yuan’s Discipline Committee on Sept. 19, demanding a thorough investigation to clear his name.
He delivered a 45-minute testimony in the committee’s third meeting on Nov. 15 and submitted a 200-page report.
Responding to the resolution, Ker said he respected the committee’s decision, while KMT caucus whip Lin hung-chih (林鴻池) said the caucus would demand another review at the plenary session.
KMT spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) yesterday expressed regret over the committee’s decision.
“The KMT respects the legislature’s self-regulation, but the public will examine the committee’s decision,” he said.
Yang said the DPP has underestimated the public by covering up for Ker and he urged the party to remain neutral on the case.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih