Sat, Sep 01, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Fire Agency graft probe puts Ma on the defensive

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday stressed the government’s efforts in fighting corruption in response to former National Fire Agency director-general Huang Chi-min’s (黃季敏) alleged involvement in bribery scandals, insisting that his administration will continue the efforts to build a clean government.

“We have worked very hard to fight corruption over the past four years. It’s like when you start to clean a house and dust starts to circulate. Without getting through this stage, we wouldn’t be able to build a clean government,” Ma said in a meeting with the press.

Huang was arrested on Wednesday by prosecutors in Taipei on suspicion of receiving bribes from contractors during his term in office.

Ma touted a probe into Huang’s alleged bribery as evidence of the government’s efforts to fight corruption even within the administration and promised to continue the anti-graft work.

Ma also expressed his expectation that judicial bodies will end improper interrogation techniques after the Taiwan High Court yesterday found defendants in the “Hsichih Trio”case — a long-running murder case spanning 21 years — not guilty in the latest retrial.

Ma, a former justice minister, said he had refused three times to sign off on the trio’s execution due to a lack of evidence and said the case highlighted the necessity to eliminate improper interrogation.

“The judicial bodies should think about the meaning behind this case and it is important that similar cases don’t occur in the future,” he said.

Ma said although it sparked disputes when proposed by the Judicial Yuan, the establishment of the Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act (刑事妥速審判法) is part of the government’s judicial reforms aimed at improving justice and that shortening litigation time was one aspect of judicial reform.

On other issues, Ma shared his confidence on further cross-strait cooperation on finance after Taiwan and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on currency settlement yesterday.

He dismissed concerns that the signing of the MOU carried political significance and insisted the government always put the Taiwanese public’s interests as top priority when signing cross-strait deals.

“All cross-strait agreements are signed on the basis of mutual respect and with reciprocity. The two sides have been promoting cross-strait exchanges for the past four years and we both know that it is unnecessary to play at politics when signing such agreements,” he said.

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