Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers urge appeal of ruling in ex-minister’s case

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

From left, Democratic Progressive Party legislators Pasuya Yao, Tsai Yi-yu and Chuang Jui-hsiung speak at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Lawmakers yesterday urged Prosecutor-General Yen Da-ho (顏大和) to file an extraordinary appeal to challenge the conviction of former minister of transportation and communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) on bribery charges after a Control Yuan investigation found impropriety in the trial process.

Kuo, who served under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2013 on corruption charges after she was accused of receiving bribes while supervising a development project.

Kuo is on medical parole due to cancer.

The ruling was controversial, as the US$20,000 Kuo was convicted of accepting was never found and the person who allegedly offered the bribe gave conflicting testimonies.

A Control Yuan report approved on Wednesday said the courts convicted Kuo without sufficient evidence.

Kuo received US$20,000 in cash on July 4, 2006, “with the recognition that the money was a bribe” and she had “uncertain criminal intent” to help the developer, the courts said.

However, the report said the courts did not provide sufficient evidence to support its verdict and did not give Kuo the benefit of doubt.

The prosecutor-general should file an extraordinary appeal on her behalf, it said.

Lawmakers yesterday urged Yen to file an extraordinary appeal to restore Kuo’s reputation.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) said that codefendant Lee Tsong-hsien (李宗賢), who allegedly offered the bribe, gave conflicting testimonies about how the payment was made.

Lee gave different descriptions of the shape and material of a can originally used for tea leaves that he said was used to store the money, Tsai said.

Lee also contradicted himself over where the cash was placed, once saying it was placed next to the can and later saying it was in the can, Tsai said.

“Lee ... made up testimonies to seek immunity from prosecution, but the testimony of a codefendant cannot be used as the only evidence against other defendants, according to Constitutional Interpretation No. 582,” Tsai said.

“The most unacceptable part of the case was the testimony, but the judges nevertheless convicted Kuo based on contradictory testimony,” DPP Legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said.

“Kuo has experienced what victims of the White Terror era did, because she was convicted on a piece of unsubstantiated testimony,” DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said.

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