Investigators are probing more than 5,000 reported incidents of vote-buying, campaign violence and other alleged crimes that could nullify the results of some contests in Saturday’s nine-in-one elections.
Officials from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Monday said that investigators are reviewing 5,187 election campaign-related incidents and 8,608 suspects identified as of Friday.
Investigators have indicted 186 people related to 219 cases, and deferred prosecution on 12 cases concerning 130 people, while 76 suspects are being held over vote-buying allegations, officials said.
Photo copied by Chan Shi-hung, Taipei Times
The Ministry of Justice said it was aiding prosecutors to help expedite their investigations.
In cases where there is sufficient evidence of crimes that influenced the outcome of an election, prosecutors would seek to invalidate the results, ministry officials said.
“This shall be done to ensure fairness and justice in the election process,” they said.
Any elected official at the county or city councilor level found guilty of election-related crimes would be removed from office, and the candidate with the next-most votes would be named the winner, they said.
When county commissioners and city mayors are convicted of election crimes, a by-election would be required, they added.
On Saturday, three Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates were re-elected despite being indicted or found guilty of corruption, which the ministry said was unusual, adding that courts must expedite reviews of the cases.
Yilan County Commissioner Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙) of the KMT was re-elected despite the Yilan County Prosecutors’ Office in August indicting her along with her daughter on charges of corruption, forgery and money laundering.
KMT New Taipei City Councilor Chou Sheng-kao (周勝考), who was re-elected in Banciao District (板橋), was last month sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison on charges of giving and accepting bribes related to Farglory Group real-estate projects and its founder, Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄).
KMT New Taipei City Councilor Tseng Huan-chia (曾煥嘉) was also re-elected in Banciao, even though he had been charged with corruption related to office staff wages and in a separate case for allegedly offering bribes to secure approval for government subsidies.
Under the Local Government Act (地方制度法), Lin would be suspended from office if found guilty and the conviction is upheld in a second ruling.
City councilors or legislators found guilty of committing wage fraud are to be suspended upon conviction in a first ruling, officials said.
Hsinchu Mayor-elect Ann Kao (高虹安) of the Taiwan People’s Party was earlier this month identified by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office as a suspect in a case in which her former legislative assistants alleged she had made illegal payroll deductions and personal gains from public funds.
If Kao is found guilty in a first ruling, her win, a major victory for the TPP, could be nullified.
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