Sun, Dec 23, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Ma urged to be silent on ongoing cases

FAKE NEWS?The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said that the media have often published inaccurate information and have not consulted it to investigate the facts

By Huang Chieh and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday urged former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to refrain from speaking publicly about ongoing cases and investigations, saying that Ma was misleading the public and interfering with the legal process with his statements to the media.

Ma’s Memoir on Eight Years of Governance (八年執政回憶錄), was released on Thursday.

In the book, Ma describes what he calls flaws in the judiciary and is specifically critical of the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

The office on July 9 charged Ma with breaches of the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法) for his role in the sale in 2005 and 2006 of several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) assets.

The office yesterday said that Ma’s case was being handled impartially and that all evidence was being taken into consideration.

It urged him to respect the judiciary and not to “go through the media to interfere with the case.”

The case is in the appeals process and is destined to reach the Supreme Court after prosecutors appealed a Taiwan High Court ruling of four months’ imprisonment.

Ma has said that the indictment was politically motivated and in his book says that the “Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office is unjust in its handling of cases,” that the office is “on a witch hunt” and that it “serves a ‘particular’ party.”

The office said that Ma’s allegations were “regretful” and that it was acting on a recording of Ma and other evidence.

The assertion by Ma that he did not profit from the sale of three KMT-affiliated companies did not matter, as the case is about illegal expropriation of funds, regardless of who profited from the sales, the office said.

The sale of Central Motion Picture Corp, China Television Co and Broadcasting Corp of China at below market value resulted in major losses for the companies, it said.

Since July 1, 2016, the office has concluded 273 investigations involving Ma, four of which were dropped, it said.

Six major cases that were either shelved or dropped were proof that the office was not “hunting” Ma as he has alleged, it said.

The six cases were over alleged neglect of duties during Typhoon Nari in 2001 while Ma was Taipei mayor, unclear sources of personal assets, a special fund set up to care for an adopted dog, alleged illegal profits from inspections of the Maokong Gondola, allegedly leaked confidential information from Ma’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in a speech at Soochow University, and alleged graft linked to the Taipei Dome project, the office said.

In cases that have proceeded against Ma, the media have frequently published inaccurate information and have not consulted the office to investigate the facts, it said.

The office has on numerous occasions released press statements to clarify the facts, which shows that Ma’s accusations about it lacking transparency are untrue, it said, adding that Ma has often misled the public by giving incomplete or incorrect information to the media.

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