As the investigation into Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) and her predecessor, Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), continues over their alleged involvement in a corruption scandal linked to a herbal medicine biotech park project, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of trying to cover up the wrongdoing of two of its party members, and urged the DPP to respect the probe and stay neutral in the case.
Chang was released on Wednesday on NT$3 million (US$100,000) bail and Chen on NT$1 million bail after being questioned by prosecutors.
The prosecutors said the two were suspected of having taken bribes from a developer during the bidding process for the build, operate and transfer (BOT) project between 2004 and 2006 in exchange for helping the developer win the tender. Chen was the county chief who promoted the project, while Chang was a lawmaker when the bidding on the park was initiated.
KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) yesterday accused DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and DPP lawmakers of politicizing the probe as a scheme launched by the KMT to shift attention away from the investigation into alleged corruption by former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世). Yin also accused Su of failing to respect the investigation.
“DPP Chairman Su did not restrain party members from making groundless accusations. Instead, he joined them in questioning the credibility of the judicial body. Such an attitude seriously damages judicial independence,” Yin said.
Yin was referring to earlier comments by DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生). After prosecutors launched the probe on Tuesday, Wang questioned the timing of what he called a “sudden raid” at the Chiayi County Government, suggesting it was a tactic to shift attention away from the ongoing investigation into Lin’s case, which has threatened to engulf the KMT and other top officials, including Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).
The DPP also accused prosecutors of only targeting politicians in the pan-green camp, adding that the administration under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was manipulating judicial resources to target the DPP.
Yin said the KMT respected the prosecutors’ probe on Lin’s case, adding that the party had revoked Lin’s membership to demonstrate the KMT’s determination to face corruption cases with hmility.
“DPP Chairman Su said he wants to make the DPP bigger and better. However, when facing corruption cases involving party members, he failed to ask them to explain themselves or to respect the judicial system,” he said.
In response, Wang said Ma should explain why the Lin case and the Chiayi County case were being treated differently.
For a long time, the judicial apparatus has had a different standard for investigations based on political party distinctions, Wang said.
The investigation into the Lin case has proceeded very slowly. To date, the Executive Yuan -secretary-general’s office has not been searched by the prosecutor’s office, Wang said, while the Chiayi County commissioner’s office and residence have already been searched on a large scale.
“We would like to ask Ma’s opinion on such a striking difference in the treatment [of the two cases],” Wang said, adding that unless the public receives an answer, their perception and trust of the judicial apparatus would always be low.