The indictment of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Kuo Wen-cheng (郭玟成) is the latest example of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) "political persecution” of DPP politicians, the DPP legislative caucus alleged yesterday.
Kuo was indicted on May 31 on charges of accepting money from Solar Bus in 2006 in return for lobbying for the bus company and faced a prison term of up to seven years. The Supreme Court remanded the case four times, but the prosecutors in all the cases decided not to prosecute Kuo.
The former DPP legislator from Greater Kaohsiung, who lost in the legislative election in January, maintained his innocence and said he was clueless as to why he was indicted after prosecutors had said he was not involved in any illegal lobbying after dozens of court sessions.
The situation took a dramatic turn after the election, as prosecutor Hsiao Fang-chou (蕭方舟) decided to indict him after one court session, Kuo told a press conference.
Speaking at the same conference, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said it was obviously a case of political persecution of DPP politicians instigated by the president.
Ker said that Hsiao was the same prosecutor that dropped all charges against Stan Lai (賴聲川), the producer of a controversial Double Ten National Day celebration performance, Dreamers (夢想家). Lai had been accused of illegally winning the contract through his connections with government officials.
The indictment has reaffirmed the suspicion of some that the judicial system “only goes after the green-camp politicians and always lets blue-camp politicians get away,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said it could be an attempt on Ma’s part to shift focus away from his low approval rate and poor governance.
“The indictment was an abuse of inner conviction,” lawyer Chuang Sheng-jung (莊勝榮) said, adding that Kuo only referred the bus company’s appeal letter to the National Freeway Bureau and had never pressured the agency to take any action for the company.
The NT$2 million (US$67,000) that the company gave Kuo for his re-election campaign in 2007 was a legal political donation, which was made 15 months after Kuo referred the letter to the bureau, Chuang said.