Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Premier called on to tackle graft

CORRUPTION KMT lawmakers grilled the justice minister on meeting the president's call to present a program for reform and said the prosecutor-general should resign

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A legislative committee yesterday passed a motion asking Premier Liu Chao-shuan (劉兆玄) to form a special anti-graft commission, following President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) call to clamp down on corruption in the military and government.

The Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee approved a motion proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators stating that the recent corruption scandals in the military and government had seriously sabotaged the image of the nation and urged Liu to head a special committee to fight corruption.

Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) said she was in favor of such a commission, adding that her ministry had completed a report on its feasibility and necessity and would present it to the Executive Yuan for review in a couple of days.

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said Ma had declared war on corruption, calling it a fight that the government had to win.

The key to victory, Chiu said, was for State Public Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) to step down so corrupt officials would learn a lesson. Chiu accused Chen Tsung-ming of delaying the legal proceedings against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is on trial on corruption charges.

Chiu said the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) needed a more competent man to lead the team.

Wang said she agreed with Chiu on the need to win the fight against corruption, adding that she would relay his message to Chen Tsung-ming.

Ma on Wednesday called for government and judiciary reviews of “major” corruption cases and a concrete plan to reform the system within three months.

Asked by KMT Legislator Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) whether three months was too short to produce concrete results, Wang said it would not be a problem if they were determined.

Wu, however, expressed concern that prosecutors might be forced to press for indictments before gathering sufficient evidence.

When Wang said she would present the reports on the deadline, KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) asked whether she would step down if she failed to do so.

Wang said she would step down if it was deemed fit, adding that she felt as “distressed” as the president about “corruption” in the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) demanded a speedy trial of the case against Chen Shui-bian and threatened to launch a campaign to recall Chen Tsung-ming if the prosecutor-general refused to cooperate.

Wang said she thought Chen Tsung-ming was doing alright, but that he could be more “aggressive.”

She also expressed hope that Taiwan could sign an agreement or memorandum of understanding with the US to extradite fugitives, including the former first family's physician, Huang Fang-yen (黃芳彥).

Another KMT legislator, Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), said that a recent poll showed that about 59 percent of the public did not have confidence in the government despite Ma's resolve to fight corruption.

Another poll released by the Ministry of Justice two months ago also indicated that about 60 percent of respondents did not think the government was clean and that 56 percent said they did not have confidence in judicial reform.

Apologizing for disappointing the public, Wang said her ministry would exert every effort to fight corruption, but added that it was difficult to uncover corruption as these crimes were conducted in private.

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