The Ministry of Justice announced yesterday the removal of Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) for alleged involvement in an improper lobbying case involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
The Executive Yuan approved the removal yesterday, the ministry said, adding that Chen will be transferred to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
The ministry said the removal came after an investigation by the ministry’s Prosecutor Evaluation Committee, which reached a decision on Saturday last week. The committee said Chen was involved in the lobbying case and that it recommended he be given an administrative reprimand.
The committee said Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) gave the green light to Special Investigation Division (SID) prosecutor Cheng Shen-yuan (鄭深元) to apply for a wiretap on subjects unrelated to any open investigations.
Huang also approved the production of a transcript of a wiretapped conversation, which was used when the SID reported possible misconduct on Sept. 6, based on a conversation it overheard between Wang and Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
In the conversation, Wang and Ker discussed lobbying then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Chen Shou-huang to prevent Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office prosecutor Lin Shiow-tao (林秀濤) from appealing Ker’s acquittal in June in a breach of trust case, the SID said.
The committee said that Huang visited President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) with information on an ongoing investigation that was obtained via the wiretaps.
Huang’s action in reporting to the president had no constitutional basis, the committee said, as the Republic of China Constitution does not list the president as the head of the Legislative Yuan, Ministry of Justice or the Executive Yuan.
The committee said Huang and SID section chief Yang Jung-tsung (楊榮宗) have undermined the credibility of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, the SID’s superior authority. It recommended that Huang be dismissed and Yang and Cheng be admonished. The trio have been handed over to the Control Yuan.
The committee recommended that Chen Shou-huang and Lin Hsiu-tao be given lighter administrative reprimands, as they are believed to have been forthcoming with their accounts, the committee said.
In response to the ministry’s announcement yesterday, Chen Shou-huang said he respected the ministry’s decision, while insisting on his innocence.
In related developments, a motion to impeach Huang was withdrawn at the last minute on Thursday, delaying a second attempt to remove him for leaking information to the president about his political rival.
The withdrawal does not mean Huang is off the hook, as the Control Yuan member who withdrew the motion, Wu Feng-shan (吳豐山), said he will resubmit it at a later date.
Wu withdrew the motion after some of the nine members present at Thursday’s meeting complained that the committee’s report about Huang’s alleged leaking of information was “not complete” and that they had not received an official copy of the report.
Huang, insisting that it was his duty to disclose cases of improper lobbying involving senior politicians, has vowed to resign if he is impeached by the Control Yuan or found guilty in a first court trial.
He survived the first Control Yuan attempt to impeach him on Nov. 28, when a tied vote defeated the motion.