Wed, Aug 22, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh campaign accuses prosecutor of `sabotage'

ALLEGATIONS The campaign manager of the DPP's presidential candidate said Prosecutor Wu Wen-chung tried to extract harmful information from Wu Meng-teh

By Flora Wang and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) campaign yesterday accused a prosecutor of having tried to entice former Kaohsiung Bureau of Urban Development director Wu Meng-teh (吳孟德) into incriminating Hsieh in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Wu was sentenced to 12 years in prison on July 31 for having taken NT$2 million (US$60,000) in bribes in the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp bid-rigging scandal.

Hsieh's campaign manager Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) told a press conference that he had received information suggesting that Prosecutor Wu Wen-chung (吳文忠) of the Special Investigation Task Force had invited Wu Meng-teh to the task force's offices at 9:30am on Aug 3.

Lee said Wu Wen-chung hoped that Wu Meng-teh could provide information to "sabotage" Hsieh's career.

"Wu Wen-chung even warned Wu Meng-teh that he would deny ever having met him, no matter what he said. This has seriously damaged the public's trust in the judiciary," Lee said.

He declined to say what evidence the campaign had to support the allegation.

Lee also said that Wu Wen-chung had told senior Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials on July 16 that he would seek to detain former Kaohsiung Development Association president Hsu Cheng-chao (徐政朝), who is close to Hsieh, and Kaohsiung City Government accountant Hsiao Ling-hui (蕭玲慧).

Three task force prosecutors -- Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮), Lee Hai-lung (李海龍) and Wu Wen-chung -- who are in charge of several cases involving Hsieh, questioned Hsu and Hsiao over Hsieh's political donation case until late on Monday night.

The Kaohsiung District Court later dismissed their request to detain the two and released them without bail. Prosecutors said they would appeal the ruling to the Taiwan High Court's Kaohsiung branch.

The Kaohsiung Development Foundation was established by Hsieh. The special investigation team has been working to collect evidence linking him to suspected irregularities.

Prosecutors said that a few individuals who made large donations to the foundation were later elected to the board of Kaohsiung Bank, and they suspected the donations may have been bribes.

Prosecutors refused to comment on whether Hsieh had been involved.

Alluding to a judicial plot to blacken Hsieh's name, Lee said that Hsieh had sent a letter to the Special Investigation Task Force on July 20 to "inform the task force director of the situation."

"Since prosecutors can reveal the progress of investigations to the KMT and the media, why should they continue to keep investigations confidential?" Lee said.

"We are willing to give up our rights as a concerned party in the case and request that prosecutors make the investigation public so that the public can supervise the judiciary and pass their own judgment," he said.

Hsieh, who was in Taoyuan yesterday, also lashed out at Wu Wen-chung, saying that Wu got his job at the task force because Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a KMT member, exercised his influence.

Wang yesterday refused to comment on Hsieh's accusation, but issued a statement saying that he had never intervened in the judiciary.

"As legislative speaker, I always respect judicial trials or prosecutors' investigations in the spirit of the Constitutional separation of state power," Wang said.

He said that Hsieh had phoned him up after his criticism of Wu Wen-chung and suggested that he not comment on the matter.

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