Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan to probe ‘abnormal’ military phone calls

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Control Yuan member Yu Teng-fang (余騰芳) said yesterday that he had found “conversations far from what would be considered normal” during his investigations into recent military promotion scandals while checking telephone call records.

Telephone conversations of three military officials who have been detained over the scandals as well as their wives possibly contained irregularities, Yu said, declining to elaborate.

Yu and two of his colleagues, Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) and Lee Ping-nan (李炳南), went to the Banciao District Prosecutors Office yesterday to listen to briefings from prosecutors.

The prosecutors earlier this month indicted former ­lieutenant-general Yuan Hsiao-lung (袁肖龍) and 11 businessmen on charges of bribery and blackmail in a military scandal in which several high-ranking officers were accused of securing promotions by offering bribes.

Prosecutors are seeking a 22-year jail term for Yuan.

Yu said last Saturday that he would subpoena former chief of general staff Huo Shou-yeh (霍守業) — who is alleged to have accepted bribes from the officers — to answer questions this week, but he said yesterday that he would talk to other officers first.

CHEN SHUI-BIAN

Meanwhile, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday denied any knowledge of allegations that Huo accepted bribes from officers.

Former national policy adviser to the president Huang Tien-fu (黃天福) told reporters after visiting Chen at the Taipei Detention Center in Tucheng (土城), Taipei County, that Chen told him that his understanding was that Huo was a decent man.

Huang said he knew Huo personally and he had the same impression of Huo. Both he and Chen did not know what happened, he said, but whatever it was, Chen said he had nothing to do with it.

Chen told Huang that during his presidency, he had selected individuals from a list of candidates to be promoted to the position of general, while he approved candidates that the Ministry of National Defense had recommended for ­lieutenant-­general positions. He also signed off on promotions to the position of major general, Chen said.

ALLEGATIONS

Prosecutors allege that Huo was acquainted with Lin Chih-chung (林治崇), a middleman who headed a group of businessmen indicted on suspicion that they won military contracts after bribing military officers with cash and prostitutes.

Prosecutors said Lin showed Yuan a “recommendation letter” from then-Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) to gain Yuan’s trust that he could secure ­Yuan’s promotion. Cho, however, told prosecutors that he never wrote such a letter for Yuan.

The Presidential Office also said there was no record of such a letter.

The Ministry of National Defense said in a press release on April 7 that there was no evidence that Huo was connected to the case.

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