Minister of Justice Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said yesterday she respected Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) decision not to be interviewed by the ministry’s Prosecutor Evaluation Committee, which is investigating an alleged case of improper lobbying and wiretapping of the legislature’s telephone line.
Lo made the remarks on the sidelines of an event in Taipei awarding the Bureau of Investigation for recently making the biggest heroin-smuggling bust in 20 years.
Lo said on Monday that the administrative investigation body may request interviews with Wang and Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to explain their alleged roles in an alleged improper lobbying case, as well as with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) over their alleged roles in the Special Investigation Division’s (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office wiretapping of the legislature’s switchboard.
Wang had responded by saying that such an interview request is not allowed under the law and that it has infringed on the legislature’s autonomy, as well as judicial rights.
“I respect his opinion … Now the Prosecutor Evaluation Committee is busy reviewing prosecutors involved in the cases and working hard to find the truth,” Lo said yesterday.
At the event awarding the Investigation Bureau, Lo said that wiretapping is necessary to investigate organized crime. For example, she said, in the heroin smuggling case, the bureau wiretapped drug lords for three years.
“Without long-term wiretapping, breaking drug cases is very difficult,” she said.
She added that under the law, wiretaps should be related to crimes, not to social status.
“We cannot rule out wiretapping some parties just because they are politicians,” she said.
Citing evidence including telephone records and conversations recorded via a wiretap placed on Ker’s telephone, the SID on Sept. 6 accused Wang of asking then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) not to appeal against Ker’s acquittal in a breach of trust case.
The division did not wrap up its investigation into the case until Sept. 5, but Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) allegedly leaked confidential information gathered from the wiretapping operation — which included the legislature’s switchboard — to Ma during a visit to the president’s official residence on Aug. 31.
Ma later said that he also met with Jiang and then-Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) on Aug. 31 to discuss the issue.