Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 2 News List

No witness ruling in Ma's ongoing corruption case

ACCURATE The prosecutor's transcript of a witness testimony was called into question by defense lawyer Song Yao-ming, who accused the prosecutor of forgery

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

No concrete ruling was handed down by the presiding judge yesterday after lawyers and prosecutors presented their cases for the deposition of a key witness in former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) corruption case.

Judges, Ma's lawyers and prosecutors yesterday examined visual and audio recordings of the interrogation of a witness in the case to determine whether the prosecutor's transcript of the witness testimony was accurate.

Ma's lawyer Song Yao-ming (宋耀明) has accused prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁) of forgery, claiming that a deposition of a witness Wu Li-ju (吳麗洳), a Taipei City Government treasurer, was not an accurate record of her statement.

Song yesterday questioned why Wu answered Hou's questions twice with "I don't know" or "I forgot," but Hou wrote down "that is right" or "yes."

Hou responded by rejecting the accusation, saying that written testimony is not prepared in a question-and-answer format because its main purpose is to keep an account of the true opinions of witnesses.

Hou said it would not be accurate to compare the recording of the questioning with the written testimony because Wu sometimes answered questions via body language such as nodding.

The deposition was handed over to Wu for confirmation after the questioning was over, he added.

Song yesterday told the court that after the reexamination found the deposition flawed, he requested that yesterday's re-writing of Hou's questioning must replace the original written statement.

Prosecutors in the hearing, however, claimed the deposition is correctly written.

Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) did not make any judgment in the hearing.

Ma, the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) presidential candidate, is on trial for allegedly misusing a special mayoral allowance fund during his eight years as Taipei mayor and embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000).

He has not contested that he took the special allowance for personal use.

Prosecutors have said that between December 1998 and last July, Ma wired half of his monthly special allowance -- NT$170,000 -- directly to a personal account.

They also found that Ma had NT$11,176,227 in bank accounts belonging to himself and his wife.

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