Fri, Aug 12, 2016 - Page 3 News List

End of SID to give prosecutors power

RULE OF LAW:A KMT legislator said that dissolving the corruption investigation unit is against the law and it should not be ended because of the whim of an administration

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Executive Yuan spokesperson Tung Chen-yuan, left, yesterday speaks to Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san at a news conference at the Executive Yuan, in Taipei.

Photo: Hunag Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

A Ministry of Justice agreement to abolish the Special Investigation Division (SID) is based on confidence that the amendment to the Organic Act for Courts (法院組織法) would further empower district prosecutors’ offices and the high prosecutor’s offices to the level that each office would be a literal “mini-SID,” Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said yesterday.

The ministry has agreed with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Yi-yu’s (蔡易餘) proposal to abolish the SID and it is expected to be phased out by October, the Legislative Yuan said.

According to Chiu, the SID had to constantly “borrow” district and high-prosecutor office staff to conduct investigations, adding that there was no need for the SID when district prosecutors are capable of handling investigations into cases of corruption.

The SID did not begin prosecution against high-level officials, as minster-level officials were prosecuted prior to the creation of the SID in 2007, Chiu said, adding that the division overshadows other prosecutorial units.

The public should have the same confidence in district prosecutors’ offices as they do in the SID, Chiu said.

Chiu used examples of district prosecutors’ offices and the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) investigating corruption cases in New Taipei City, the former Taoyuan County and Nantou County together.

The ministry will be instructing local prosecutors’ offices to increase efforts to combat corruption, and the draft amendments to the Organic Act for Courts submitted to the legislature will enable those offices to “borrow” staff from other branches should their expertise be required in corruption investigations, Chiu said.

Dissolving the SID should not affect the capability and efficiency of anti-corruption investigations, Chiu said, adding that he has confidence in the district prosecutors’ offices capabilities.

The SID has the power to launch investigations against the president, vice president, presidents of government branches, minister-level officials and generals.

Chiu said that the AAC was also unnecessary, but was motivated by political factors, adding that the AAC has also strained judicial relations due to overlapping jurisdictions.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said the DPP was ignoring the rule of law, adding that the establishment of the SID was backed by law and should not be removed on the whim of one administration.

DPP legislators want to remove the SID because it has been responsible for many corruption investigations against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Wang said, adding that the motion to abolish the SID is politically motivated.

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said the KMT’s comments were purely political, adding that the party has been the beneficiary of the division since its establishment.

The division has investigated members of both parties and the difference is simply whether the investigation proves there is a valid case or not, Chiu said, adding that the ministry is approaching the issue from the point of what function the division serves in maintaining the rule of law.

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