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Taiwan top prosecutor escapes impeachment
Final Control Yuan vote ends in tie
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-07 02:28 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming escaped impeachment for allegedly leaking confidential information about an investigation to President Ma Ying-jeou as the Control Yuan’s final vote Tuesday again ended in a tie.

A first attempt on November 28 ended in a five-to-five tie, a second on December 19 did not go to a vote because some members thought the motion was not complete and had to be rejected. According to Control Yuan rules, each impeachment motion has to be handled by different members, and following Tuesday’s vote, the 29-seat government watchdog has run out of new members to discuss the case.

The third impeachment discussion lasted more than two hours and concluded with six members voting in favor and six against, reports said. As usual, the Control Yuan was not allowed to provide details on the arguments or on who voted for or against. Each motion was proposed by the same two members, Wu Feng-shan and Hung Teh-shuan.

Huang said earlier that he would only resign before the end of his four-year term next April if the Control Yuan impeached him or if the Taipei District Court found him guilty. The court is still reviewing the case and is widely expected to reach a verdict before April.

Last month, the Ministry of Justice Prosecutorial Evaluation Committee reached a decision to refer Huang to the Control Yuan to remove him from his position.

The top prosecutor has always rejected allegations that he was guilty of leaking confidential information, saying that when he met Ma on August 31, the conclusions of the investigation were already clear, even though it was not officially closed until September 5.

The Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) dropped a bombshell on September 6 by accusing Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng of illegally lobbying the MOJ to drop an eventual appeal against a not-guilty verdict in an embezzlement case directed against top opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming.

Even though Wang was still overseas, Ma launched a campaign to revoke the speaker’s membership of the ruling Kuomintang, which would also mean he lost his legislative seat. The campaign failed because Wang won a court injunction keeping him as a member as long as there was no court verdict.

Huang was soon accused of illegal behavior as it came to light that he had met Ma at his official residence on August 31 and that the SID had placed wiretaps on the Legislative Yuan to gather information.

After Huang left the presidential residence, Ma called in Premier Jiang Yi-huah and a close aide to discuss the allegations with them. The following day, he called Huang for more explanations and they met again.

The top prosecutor has faced strong calls for his resignation but has so far refused to budge or to admit any wrongdoing.

In a related case, the Legislative Yuan was scheduled to discuss the disciplinary case against Ker on Thursday, reports said Tuesday. The Legislature’s Disciplinary Committee recommended on November 29 that the top Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker face no punishment because there was no evidence of influence peddling.

KMT lawmakers said they would vote Thursday to send the report back to the committee because only DPP lawmakers had been present at the time of the decision about Ker.

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