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High prosecutor sacked as Taipei mayor calls for SID abolition
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-20 03:49 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan High Prosecutors Office Chief Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang was sacked Friday for his role in the alleged influence-peddling scandal surrounding Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, while Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin told reporters that the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) could be abolished.

His comments came as the government was still facing low popularity ratings and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming faced mounting pressure to resign over his handling of influence-peddling allegations against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.

Chen was sacked from his position as chief prosecutor at the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office by a Ministry of Justice committee after also receiving a warning about his behavior. He will be transferred to work as a prosecutor for the Supreme Prosecutors Office, reports said.

Chen reportedly accepted phone calls from Wang and from then-Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu to ask another prosecutor, Lin Hsiu-tao, not to go ahead with an appeal against a top opposition lawmaker after he was found not guilty of embezzlement. Lin also received an official caution Friday, reports said.

Hau said the SID could be gradually phased out because its impartiality and reliability had recently been questioned. The public had grave doubts about its behavior in the Wang case, he said.

The Ministry of Justice Prosecutorial Evaluation Committee last weekend decided it would refer Huang to the Control Yuan and recommend his dismissal because of his behavior in the matter.

The Control Yuan, the nation’s most important government watchdog, failed twice to impeach the top prosecutor, but a third attempt was on the cards, its members said.

Huang also faces a court case after prosecutors charged him with revealing confidential information about the Wang investigation. The case goes back to August 31, when Huang called the president to arrange a meeting, during which he revealed details about the accusations against Wang. Later that day, Ma called in Jiang and a top presidential aide to discuss the matter and the next day, he phoned Huang for another meeting.

The prosecutor-general argued he was innocent because even though the investigation was not officially completed until September 5, its conclusions were already clear by the time he asked to meet the president. The case also led to charges that the SID used illegal wiretaps on the Legislative Yuan to come up with its accusations. A power struggle between Ma and Wang threatened to rip the government and the KMT apart, with a court case still continuing to pit the legislative speaker against the party he wants to continue and be a member of.

Hau also told reporters Friday that Premier Jiang Yi-huah should receive a new chance to reshuffle his Cabinet. He said the current Cabinet was the target of public doubts about its efficiency and capability in the face of various problems such as the faltering economy, pollution of the environment and problems with food safety.

Jiang should receive another chance to reconstitute his Cabinet team and recruit ministers who were more responsive, Hau was reported as saying. A new team would be able to win the confidence of the public, he added.

He deflected questions about his candidacy for the Cabinet. Hau reaches the end of his second and final term as mayor in December next year, and is widely believed to be preparing a bid for the ruling Kuomintang’s presidential nomination for the 2016 election.

He denied not seeing eye to eye with President Ma Ying-jeou, saying he just said the words he believed in and did the things he believed in. Ma and Jiang worked fine together, he told reporters.

Hau has been known to make suggestions diverging from official KMT viewpoints, such as his support for medical parole for former President Chen Shui-bian. Critics have accused him of trying to court opposition support for his alleged presidential aspirations.

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