Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien rejected criticism by prosecutors that a Control Yuan member attempted to intervene in the probe into allegations of money laundering against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Lee Fu-tien (李復甸) was scheduled to question Special Investigation Panel (SIP) spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) yesterday over the SIP’s handling of the investigation into that case and the case involving the former president’s use of his state affairs fund, but the meeting was canceled after prosecutors refused to be questioned.
SIP prosecutors on Tuesday accused Lee of interfering with the judiciary after prosecutors Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮) and Yueh Fang-ju (越方如) were questioned by Lee on Monday and Tuesday.
When approached by the press for comment, Wang yesterday threw his support behind Lee, saying the Control Yuan did not intend to influence the investigation.
“Instead, [Lee’s intention] was to find out if there was anyone trying to meddle in the investigation. If there isn’t, that’s fine. If there is, the Control Yuan needs to exercise its power,” Wang said.
Wang said prosecutors should know that interfering in a judicial investigation is beyond the Control Yuan’s capacity and that it was normal for prosecutors and Control Yuan members to exchange ideas and cooperate over investigations.
Lee yesterday also denied media reports that claimed he questioned prosecutors on why they had not detained Chen Shui-bian and why they had not questioned his son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚) immediately after they returned to Taiwan.
“I know what I am doing,” Lee said, “The Control Yuan investigates administrative irregularities by public officials, while prosecutors investigate criminal acts.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Shuai Hua-ming (帥化民) and Chiu Yi (邱毅) yesterday said they supported the Control Yuan interviewing the prosecutors.
Calling the move “normal,” Shuai said the Control Yuan was not interfering, but was merely expressing the hope that the panel would speed up its investigation.
Chiu said the panel’s probe into the money-laundering allegations should be scrutinized by the Control Yuan.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus and Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰), on the other hand, opposed Lee’s questioning.
“Unless the prosecutors are involved in any alleged corruption or human right violations, it would be improper for [Lee] to approach prosecutors to discuss the case,” Wang Ching-feng said. “I talked to Lee on the phone and told him what I thought. And he agreed with me.”
Wang Ching-feng confirmed that Lee had planned to talk with prosecutors because he wanted to learn more details about the alleged money laundering case.
“Since prosecutors have yet to close the case, I told him it would be improper to do so,” she said. “I suggested that he postpone it.”
DPP deputy caucus whip Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) held a press conference yesterday and criticized Lee for his attempts to interfere in the judiciary.
“What Lee did has interrupted the prosecutors’ work and we are sorry to hear that,” she said, urging all Control Yuan members to remain silent on the issue and allow the prosecutors to do their jobs without any interference.
Control Yuan members should investigate government officials to make sure they are not corrupt, but “investigating an ongoing judicial case is not their job,” she said.
Additional reporting by Flora Wang
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