Tue, Apr 21, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors start military probe

BRIBERY A task force consisting of military and justice officials has been gathering information and would soon start questioning military officials, retirees and civilians

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A team of prosecutors yesterday began their probe into allegations of bribery, with several senior military officials accused of buying their positions.

The team, headed by Special Investigation Panel (SIP) prosecutor Cheng Fu-ming (鄭富銘), held their first meeting at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office. Prosecutors from the Ministry of National Defense (MND), the SIP and the Banciao District Prosecutors' Office also attended the meeting.

Prosecutors said the main purpose of the meeting was to confirm the division of labor in the probe — Banciao District Prosecutors will be responsible for questioning civilians and retired military officers, the SIP will target current high-ranking military officers and the MND will look into cases involving low-ranking officers.

The task force is in the process of gathering information and will start questioning suspects and witnesses soon, prosecutors said.

State Public Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明), Military High Court prosecutor Chiang Ta-wei (蔣大偉), Banciao District Prosecutors' Office chief Wu Shen-chih (吳慎志), SIP spokesperson Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) and SIP prosecutors Chiang Kuei-chang (姜貴昌) and Cheng were among those who attended the meeting.

The task force, consisting of military and justice officials, was formed earlier this month to investigate claims of bribery in the military. The MND has also offered a NT$10 million (US$300,000) reward for information on the case.

Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓), head of the legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee, vowed to launch a probe into all military personnel who have served as defense minister.

Chou said the KMT has been compiling a list of personnel promoted to the rank of general and comparing their year-end performance evaluations with their promotions.

“The legislature is very concerned about this issue,” he told reporters.

Chou declined to name any former ministers suspected of accepting bribes, adding that the KMT had not found any substantial evidence against any of the ministers.

But KMT Legislator Shuai Hua-ming (帥化民), the other head of the committee, criticized former minister of defense Lee Jye (李傑) for promoting 16 personnel to general during his term in office, alleging that Lee was helping former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) “abuse his authority.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG

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