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Thu, Nov 08, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh demands release of frigate report

LAFAYETTE SCANDAL The Control Yuan, after accepting the legislative candidate's petition to have the Lafayette frigate report released, said it would not be influenced by political pressure

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of protesters yesterday unfold a banner reading ``pay us back the NT$20 billion (US$597.7 million) in kickbacks'' from the Lafayette frigate scandal between Taiwan and France. The group of some 40 people was demanding the Control Yuan immediately release a report on the investigation of the scandal.

PHOTO: AFP

A Control Yuan task force looking into the Lafayette frigate scandal should release its report on the case within three days, an independent legislative candidate said yesterday.

The task force has completed its probe into the case, but says it won't release its report on the matter until after the Dec. 1 elections.

Roger Hsieh (謝聰敏), a former national policy adviser to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and legislative candidate hoping to represent Taipei, said yesterday that the report should be released immediately.

"I totally disagree with the task force's decision to postpone the release of the report until after the elections," Hsieh said.

"This is an issue that concerns national security and the death of a Taiwanese naval officer," the legislative candidate said. "It should be our first priority to figure out what's going on with this scandal. How can we wait until after the elections?"

Hsieh also questioned the role of the Control Yuan in the case, saying the investigation of the purchasing scandal was a job for the judiciary.

"I don't understand how the task force can investigate the scandal when it should be a job for prosecutors," he said.

Over the past year, a Control Yuan task force led by Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥) has been looking into the Lafayette frigate scandal. Other members of task force are Louis Chao (趙榮耀), Ma Yi-kung (馬以工), Lin Chiou-shan (林秋山) and Ku Den-mei (古登美).

On Nov. 3, Kang said the task force had finished its investigation and was prepared to release its report at any time. But a majority of the group's members decided to wait until after the elections.

"Now that Kang has said the task force has finished its investigation, we would like to ask them to release the report within three days," Hsieh said. "People have the right to know the truth ... don't they?"

Control Yuan member Lin Chu-liang (林鉅鋃), who accepted Hsieh's petition yesterday to have the report released, said the body wouldn't be influenced by political pressure in its work.

Kang said yesterday that task-force members would choose the best time to release the report.

"I can guarantee that we were not affected by any sort of political pressure," Kang said. "But we have to make sure everything is ready before we officially release the report, which is not now."

The Control Yuan task force has interviewed several key witnesses in the Lafayette frigate case, including former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝); Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), the former chief of the general staff who later became premier; Yeh Chang-tung (葉昌桐), a retired admiral and former naval commander-in-chief; and Lei Hsueh-ming (雷學明), a former vice admiral.

Task-force members have also been to France twice as a part of their investigation.

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