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Taiwan premier testifies at Huang court case
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-27 03:27 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Premier Jiang Yi-huah testified at the Taipei District Court Friday in the case against Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming.

The top prosecutor has been charged with violating the confidentiality of the judicial investigation into alleged illegal lobbying by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng. He visited President Ma Ying-jeou on August 31 to reveal the case to him, and later the same day Ma called in Jiang and a top aide to discuss the issue.

At its first session in the case on November 29, the Taipei District Court said it would summon Jiang to testify Friday. Huang’s attorneys opposed the move because the premier had already supplied sufficient information during earlier questioning by prosecutors, but the court rejected their arguments and decided to go ahead with the summons.

Jiang arrived at the court on time and entered the building without speaking to reporters. Three hours later, he also left without a word, reports said. Huang had arrived shortly before in the company of his team of attorneys, which includes former Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng and former Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang.

The premier told the court that he had shredded a report Huang had given him at a meeting between the two men on September 4 several days later, after the accusations against Wang had been made public. The content of the news conference proved to be similar to what Huang had presented, so there was no need to keep the document, Jiang said.

The premier said that at the August 31 meeting, Ma did not show him any documents but only related what Huang had said. They discussed the possibility that if Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu was involved in the alleged influence peddling and was unable to explain himself, he might have to bear political responsibility, Jiang said. There was no immediate decision on how deal with the minister because it was not clear enough from the discussion whether he bore responsibility, according to the premier. Tseng resigned on the day the Wang case became public knowledge, on September 6.

The court decided last month to intensify its review of the case beginning January, leading observers to believe it might reach a verdict before Huang ends his term as prosecutor-general next April.

He has said he would resign if the Taipei District Court found him guilty or if the Control Yuan impeached him. The latter, the nation’s top government watchdog, has come close to impeaching him several times, but it failed to do so after a tied vote and after too few members showed up. The latest attempt failed when Control Yuan members said the motion to impeach Huang was incomplete.

In addition to the accusations of violating the confidentiality of the investigation, Huang has also come under fire because the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) had wiretaps placed on the Legislative Yuan. It argued it thought it was only eavesdropping on a legislative aide, but in fact the phone conversations of dozens of lawmakers and reporters could be intercepted.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Ying-yuan on Friday filed a motion to request the Ministry of Justice Prosecutorial Evaluation Committee to submit its complete files on the Huang case to the Legislative Yuan for review. However, the ruling Kuomintang caucus disagreed and referred Lee’s proposal to negotiation, which means it will not be discussed in the open for a month.

The committee investigated the case and concluded the top prosecutor should be referred to the Control Yuan to be removed from office.

Huang denies any wrongdoing, saying that by the time he spoke to the president on August 31, the conclusions of the case against Wang were already clear, even if the investigation was not officially concluded until September 5.

After the SID went public with the allegations the following day, a power struggle erupted within the KMT, with Ma trying to have Wang expelled. The latter succeeded in winning court approval for an injunction allowing him to stay on as a KMT member and as legislative speaker. The Taipei District Court is also dealing with a case filed by Wang against the ruling party on the same topic.

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