Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) yesterday fought back against allegations that the Special Investigation Division (SID) he leads served as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) executioner in an influence peddling case involving several prominent politicians.
The label of “political hatchet man” was “absolutely unacceptable” and one to which “I strongly object,” Huang said.
The SID “deserved applause” for its discovery of “the biggest influence-peddling scandal in [the nation’s] judicial history,” he said.
“If I had passed over the information obtained by wiretapping on June 28 and June 29, questions would have been raised that we [SID] had tried to cover up [the alleged irregularities] and that I had neglected my duty,” he said.
The wiretaps on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming’s (柯建銘) telephone on those two days led the SID to allege that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), in response to a request from Ker, lobbied in regards to a legal case against Ker.
The SID alleged that Wang asked then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) to urge a prosecutor not to appeal Ker’s acquittal in an embezzlement case stemming from 1997 to the Supreme Court. Ker was indicted in 2008.
At the press conference, Huang took 25 minutes to deliver an eight-point statement refuting criticisms against the SID’s probe, calling the case “the biggest influence-peddling scandal in judicial history” five times.
It is “regrettable” that Tseng and Chen both had tried to divert attention away from the influence-peddling allegation by saying that it was the result of “[my] personal animosity [against Tseng],” Huang said.
“I truly felt that the way they had behaved made them look like politicians who always term whatever charges are brought against them as ‘political persecutions’ to attack the credibility of the judiciary,” he said.
Prosecutors have presented “strong evidence” to prove that Tseng and Chen have both meddled in the case, Huang said, dismissing the criticism that there was no evidence the two men were involved in the decision by Lin Shiow-tao (林秀濤), the prosecutor in charge of Ker’s case, not to appeal the not-guilty verdict.
“Direct evidence was not necessarily needed,” Huang said.
Huang refuted the DPP’s claim that the wiretapping of Ker’s phone was conducted without due process, saying the SID had sought permission in advance from the Taipei District Court.
The SID did not tap Wang’s phones, Huang said.
Huang said he had reported the case to Ma, at the president’s residence, on Aug. 31, six days before the SID announcement on Friday last week, because the alleged involvement of the legislative speaker and the minister of justice minister would have massive ramifications.