Tue, Oct 15, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Justice committee may question Ma, Wang over case

CLARIFICATION:While people can refuse the committee’s requests for an interview, the justice minister said they should go if asked to do so

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Justice’s Prosecutor Evaluation Committee may request President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and others to explain their roles in an alleged case of improper lobbying and wiretapping of the legislature’s telephone line, Minister of Justice Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said yesterday.

Lo made the remarks during an interview by Hit FM yesterday morning.

“If the evidence we now have is insufficient to clear up the matter, some parties may be requested to explain the matter to the committee to help ascertain the facts,” Lo said.

The interviewer asked whether it was appropriate for Ma to be questioned by the committee.

“If the facts are not clear, the president should accept the request,” Lo said.

The minister added that since the prosecutor evaluation body is not a judicial body, its requests for interviewing people can be refused, but she believed those requested should go.

According to the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper), the committee on Saturday said it would request Wang and Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to explain their alleged roles in improper lobbying.

It also discussed whether to invite Ma, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and then-Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) to explain the Special Investigation Division’s (SID) wiretapping of the legislature’s switchboard.

Asked whether Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) and the Special Investigation Division’s wiretapping of the legislature’s telephone has seriously affected the office’s credibility, Lo said there has been some impact, but that district prosecutors’ offices should also be held responsible.

She said an investigation showed six district prosecutors’ offices had applied to district courts to wiretap the legislature’s switchboard because they suspected people used the number for illegal matters, but because it is the legislature’s switchboard and those conversations cannot be recorded, they should notify the ministry.

Wang yesterday said he was never involved in improper lobbying.

“The request for an interview is not allowed under the law, and such a request has infringed on the legislature’s autonomy, as well as judicial rights,” Wang said.

Citing evidence including telephone records and conversations recorded via a wiretap placed on Ker’s telephone, the SID accused Wang of asking then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) not to appeal Ker’s acquittal in a breach of trust case.

The division did not wrap up its investigation into the case until Sept. 5, but Huang allegedly leaked confidential information gathered from the wiretapping operation — which included the legislature’s switchboard — to Ma during a visit to the president’s official residence on Aug. 31.

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