Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Analysis: Black Gold prosecutors face different challenges

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁) is facing more and more challenges from across party lines as he probes the alleged misuse of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) special allowance fund.

This was not a problem that Prosecutor Eric Chen (陳瑞仁) was troubled by during his investigation into the allegations against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), not even after he indicted Wu on corruption and forgery charges in connection with the handling of the Presidential Office's "state affairs fund" late last month.

Although both are senior prosecutors with the Black Gold Investigation Center of the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office, they faced wildly different situations.

"Prosecutor Chen's only consideration is the evidence, not political color. He is a model for other prosecutors," Lin Ching-tsung (林慶宗), a prosecutor with the Kaohsiung branch of the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office, told the Taipei Times.

Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) has described Eric Chen as "a man that nobody can control" or influence.

Former senior adviser to the president Peng Ming-min (彭明敏) told the Chinese-language Liberty Times, (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) on Sunday that Hou should hand over the investigation of Ma to another prosecutor because his friendship with the mayor created a conflict of interests.

But KMT legislators yesterday accused the government of interfering with the Black Gold Investigation Center investigation into Ma's handling of his mayoral special allowance.

They said that Hou had already decided to indict Ma before the Dec. 9 mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung.

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