Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-10-12 02:58 PM
The report, issued on Friday, said the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) had placed the taps on a Legislative Yuan switchboard number by mistake, and that the resulting empty recordings had not been tampered with. The MOJ concluded that Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming and SID prosecutors Yang Jung-tsung and Cheng Shen-yuan would face a review by the Prosecutors Evaluation Committee.
“If bugging the Legislative Yuan more than ten times is a mix-up, then nothing is a crime anymore,” said DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang. He added that the public was unable to watch the investigation any further because the taskforce’s conclusions lacked credibility.
Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay defended the group, saying it had worked independently and not included any political considerations when working on its report since its formation on October 1. The ad-hoc team consisted of five representatives of the MOJ and the judiciary and six academics, experts, and leaders of private foundations.
The SID initially claimed that the bugged number was a cell phone number belonging to a legislative aide, but immediate calls to the number proved it was a special number which could be used by more than 80 lawmakers and their aides.
The taps reportedly lasted for a month, but the SID claimed that not a single piece of conversation was recorded on 21 compact discs. The MOJ taskforce accepted the argument and concluded that technical problems were at the basis of the failed recordings.
SID prosecutor Cheng, who had been in charge of coordinating the wiretaps, had been negligent in not double-checking the number or listening to the contents, the report concluded.
The allegations of illegal wiretaps surfaced because the SID used them to conclude that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng tried to influence a decision by prosecutors about whether or not to file an appeal against a not-guilty verdict in a case involving DPP legislative caucus chief Ker Chien-ming. The case later expanded into a power struggle between President Ma Ying-jeou and Wang, but the latter has still been holding on to his post thanks to court rulings.
Huang faces investigations over his revelations to Ma about the alleged influence peddling. He has been listed as a defendant on suspicion of having revealed confidential information from a judicial investigation.
The DPP described the conclusions of the MOJ report about the wiretaps as a free piece of advertising for the no-confidence vote about the Cabinet of Premier Jiang Yi-huah scheduled for October 15.
Su said the report was a massive effort by the MOJ to protect its own even before the real investigation had been completed. “The left hand investigated the right hand,” he said.
Because Ma and Jiang were completely unwilling to admit their mistakes, it was even more necessary to support next Tuesday’s vote of no confidence, the opposition leader said.
On the KMT side, there were also voices indicating skepticism with the MOJ explanations. Top caucus lawmaker Lin Hung-chih said that even though Huang was appointed for a four-year term, he should shoulder responsibility for the case, no matter whether the phone bugging was an administrative error or not. Neither president nor Legislature could force the top prosecutor out, but he should be able to weigh the situation by himself and evaluate whether now was the time to leave or not, Lin said.
Senior KMT lawmaker Lu Hsueh-chang said Huang should be censured or impeached by the Control Yuan, the nation’s top government watchdog, because the wiretaps were just one series of mixed-up, illegal and unconstitutional acts. He also questioned the MOJ’s impartiality because the minister had suggested right from the start that the SID had not meant to eavesdrop on the Legislative Yuan.
KMT legislator Wang Hui-mei said the prosecutor-general should rise above the sides in a conflict and correspond to the same high standards he had demanded of others. Since Huang had done nothing but provoke controversy, he should know he could consider resigning, she said.