SID abolished as legislature hands prosecutors reins

NO MORE LAW?:Lin Te-fu of the KMT said the body’s dissolution seemed to say that the government was willing to tolerate corruption by high-ranking officials

By Chen Yu-fu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Nov 19, 2016 - Page 1

The Special Investigation Division (SID) is to be formally abolished and its responsibilities transferred back to prosecutors, the Legislative Yuan said yesterday.

The SID’s dissolution will take effect on Jan. 1, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said.

The SID was created amid expectations that the government would be able to rein in corrupt civil servants, but in 2013, then-prosecutor-general Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) illegally wiretapped a lawmaker, Yu said, adding that the SID has since become a judiciary organ not to combat crime, but to persecute people.

The legislature has abolished the SID because it had become uncontrollable, Yu said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said that the dissolution of a judiciary organ tasked with investigating corruption by high-ranking officials seems to send the message that the DPP is willing to tolerate such acts.

The SID should continue to exist, as normal prosecutors might not have the initiative to prosecute cases against high-ranking government officials, the KMT legislative caucus said, adding that the division would also have more time, as investigating such cases was its sole duty.

Lin also questioned amendments to Article 63 of the Organic Act for Courts (法院組織法), which formed the legal basis for the SID, and said that the amendments could not prevent politics interfering in the judiciary.

As the amended article exempts prosecutors from the constraints of Article 62, which states that prosecutors are to perform duties in their jurisdictions, if they are appointed to head investigations by the prosecutor-general, the Taiwan High Court or the attorney general of the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office, the prosecutor-general’s power as the top-ranking entity among the three leaves a loophole for political intervention, Lin said.

In other news, the Legislative Yuan passed an amendment to Article 27 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) barring elected officials who step down or candidates whose nominations are invalidated by a court due to bribery from running in by-elections.

Additional reporting by CNA