Sat, Jan 13, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Officials asked to appear in `state affairs fund' case

SUMMONED Judge Tsai Shou-hsun gave approval to Prosecutor Chang Hsi-huai's request that Yu Hsin-ming and Hsieh Chien-tsai appear as witnesses next week

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Court yesterday asked a number of current and former officials with the Pres-idential Office to appear in court as witnesses in next week's hearing on the "state affairs fund" case.

The court asked the officials to appear following a request by Prosecutor Chang Hsi-huai (張熙懷), one of the prosecutors in the "state affairs fund" case, in which first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and three former Presidential Office aides -- deputy secretary-general Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成), secretariat director Lin Te-hsun (林德訓) and treasurer Chen Cheng-hui (陳鎮慧) -- were indicted on charges of corruption for allegedly embezzling NT$14.8 million (US$449,600) from the fund.

Chang asked the court to summon Presidential Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山), former Presidential Office secretaries-generals from the past five years, as well as Presidential Office Second Bureau Director Yu Hsin-ming (余新明), Government Ethics Department Director-General Hsieh Chien-tsai (謝建財) and two other subordinate officials in charge of diplomatic projects.

While Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) rejected Chang's request to summon Mark Chen and the former secretary-generals in the Presidential Office, he decided to accept the summons of Yu, Hsieh and the two subordinate officials to be wit-nesses in next Friday's hearing.

Chang said prosecutors made the request because the Presidential Office refused to produce certain documents on the six diplomatic projects relating to the "state affairs fund" case after the court twice sent letters asking the Presidential Office to hand over the documents.

In both cases, the Presidential Office replied to the court that turning over the documents was a matter for the president himself to decide, not the Presidential Office.

Three lots of documents were sealed by Prosecutor Eric Chen (陳瑞仁) after he completed his investigation to prevent the release of secret diplomatic information.

The court has been attempting to clarify whether the diplomatic projects had been approved and later placed under the protection of the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法).

Chang also asked the court to summon doctors from National Taiwan University Hospital who are in charge of Wu's medical treatments, and asked for all of Wu's medical records from July to the present.

"We need thorough information about Wu's health condition to determine whether she is fit to appear at the hearing and what medical arrangements the court needs to prepare if she is in attendance," Chang said.

Attorney Yang Feng-wan (楊芳婉) argued that prosecutors should respect medical professionals.

In the end, Tsai said that the court had not decided whether to grant the prosecutors' requests in Wu's case.

Wu was absent from yesterday's hearing.

She has missed three hearings since falling ill during the court's first hearing on Dec. 15.

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