Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) yesterday denied allegations that he had visited then-prosecutor-general Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) over a lawsuit involving then-KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2007.
Tseng said that while it was true he had paid Chen a visit after Ma was found not guilty in the first trial of a corruption case regarding his use of special allowance funds granted to him during his tenure as Taipei mayor from 1998, the visit had nothing to do with Ma.
The allegation made by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that the visit was aimed at urging prosecutors not to appeal Ma’s acquittal in the first trial was “a distortion of the truth,” Tseng said.
As a caucus whip at the time, Tseng said he was commissioned by the caucus to express their concern to Chen that local prosecutors may have made a different interpretation on the proper use of special allowances.
“We were there to express our hope that Chen should address the problem and had made no mention of any single case during our conservation,” he said.
The fact that prosecutors had lodged an appeal against the not-guilty verdict afterward clearly “disproved the allegation,” Tseng said.
Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁), then a prosecutor with the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, indicted Ma on charges of corruption on Feb. 13, 2007. Ma cleared his name on April 23, 2008, after the third and final verdicts were handed down. He was also ruled not guilty in his first and second trials.
According to DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who was then the KMT secretary-general, had instructed Tseng to urge Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to convince Hou from appealing the first trial because Hou is a relative of Wang, but Wang declined to meddle in the case.
Meanwhile, former minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) had been immediately discharged, in accordance with a personnel order signed by Ma and delivered to the Ministry of Justice yesterday.
Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) will serve as acting minister from today until a new appointment is made, the Executive Yuan said.
Tseng tendered his resignation on Friday after he was accused of using his influence to urge the prosecutor in charge of a breach of trust case not to appeal a High Court verdict. The case involved DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), who was found not guilty after two previous guilty verdicts. Tseng’s resignation was accepted immediately that day by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺).
Additional reporting by CNA