Tue, Aug 14, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Council silent before Ma verdict

PROSECUTION RESTS Huang Hui-min, chief prosecutor at the Taipei District Office, said that they have been neutral, rebutting KMT criticism

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus holds a press conference calling for judges to remain impartial in the special affairs fund case against Ma Ying-jeou. The verdict is scheduled to be announced at today's session at 10am.

PHOTO: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will find out whether he is guilty or innocent of corruption today, while his defense counsel and prosecutor said they would not comment before the verdict was handed down.

The verdict is scheduled to be announced at 10am today.

"I will not comment on the case before the verdict is available. But, I must say that I am quite sorry that the statements of witnesses in the case were leaked during the hearings," chief prosecutor at the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, Huang Hui-min (黃惠敏), said.

Huang also emphasized that prosecutors have been very neutral and fair in this case during the entire process of investigations and hearings. The only defect was that witnesses' statements were leaked.

The leak statements also resulted in Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁) being sued by Ma's defense counsel Song Yao-ming (宋耀明). Song complained that during Hou's questioning of witness Wu Li-ju (吳麗洳), a Taipei City Government treasurer, Hou was biased because he framed his questions according to what he believed and asked Wu to fill in the blanks. Song accused Hou of forgery.

Huang, in the meantime, said that Ma had said that his special allowance fund was not a part of his paychecks so prosecutors believed that Ma knew clearly that the fund should not be pocketed as private assets. However, Ma denied later that he had said so during hearings with prosecutors.

"This is an interesting argument and we will see whether judges believe in Ma's argument or ours when they make public the verdict later," Huang said.

Song, as Ma's defense counsel, also refused to pre-empt the verdict but he continued his argument about the fairness of prosecutors during the process.

"From the very beginning, their attitudes were irritating me. When they first summoned Ma, they summoned Ma as a `related person' of the case.

"However, by law, there are only `witnesses' or `defendants,'" Song said.

Song said prosecutors already believed that Ma was guilty, so their questions for witnesses were designed under the same circumstances.

No matter what witnesses said, their testimony would work against Ma anyway, he said.

"You call this a fair game? I am sorry. I don't think so," Song said.

Ma was indicted 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 the claim 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 discovered that Ma had NT$11,176,227 in bank accounts belonging to him and his wife.

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