The Special Investigation Division’s (SID) subpoena of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) over a case of missing documents during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration was an abuse of power because it fell beyond the division’s jurisdiction, the DPP said yesterday.
After the party on Tuesday accused the SID of violating the law by not stating the origin of the case on its subpoena and said the subpoena could be politically motivated, the division said that it had subpoenaed witnesses, including Wu, for investigation into missing official documents from the Presidential Office.
However, the SID, a branch of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, is only authorized to investigate corruption cases involving ministerial-level officials, according to Article 63-1 of the Organic Act of Courts (法院組織法), which showed that the subpoena was not an administrative error, but an abuse of power, DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) told a press conference yesterday.
Citing a possible violation of the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法), the SID subpoenaed several DPP members who had worked at the Presidential Office over the missing documents, a case that was revealed in March 2011.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration accused 17 former officials of failing to return documents to the national archives as required by law when Chen’s term ended in 2008, saying that up to 36,000 documents were missing. The 17 officials were subsequently referred to the Control Yuan for investigation.
“It is clear that the SID could only launch investigation into corruption cases involving the president, vice president, presidents of the five government branches and Cabinet ministers, and the recent investigation is an abuse of power,” Huang said.
He reiterated that the SID should be abolished not only because most democratic countries had abolished the independent prosecutor system over concerns of abuse of power, but also because the SID is notorious for being used as a political tool for the ruling party and oppression of opposition parties.
Responding to the controversial investigation, Wu yesterday said he did not know why he was subpoenaed, but he was not worried about it too much because he “has obeyed the law all his life.”
“I do not want to speculate [whether the subpoena was related to the missing documents case], but the last time I worked at the Presidential Office was more than 10 years ago,” said Wu, who served as deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office from 2002 to 2004. “No one could have kept the documents without filing them to the archive, which was why everyone found the accusation ridiculous when the case was first brought up by the Ma administration in March 2011.”
Wu was not the only former official subpoenaed by the SID. Three DPP headquarters officials also received subpoenas, Wu said.
A DPP official, who preferred to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said more than 10 former DPP government officials had been subpoenaed by the division, but most of them did not want to be identified because their families would be worried.
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