Legislative Yuan rejects MOJ’s call to monitor switchboard in inquiry

By Lauly Li,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Legislative Yuan yesterday rejected the Ministry of Justice’s (MOJ) request to monitor its switchboard as part of an MOJ investigation into the controversial Legislature wiretapping case.

Vice Minister of Justice Tsai Pi-yu (蔡碧玉), who was named the convener of a task force looking into the investigation, said the MOJ on Oct. 7 sent its request to the Legislative Yuan in order to discern the truth of the wiretapping controversy.

Tsai said the request aimed to clarify what could be monitored through the switchboard, noting that since the Legislature turned them down, the task force will now seek alternatives to simulate the wiretapping incident. The MOJ respects the Legislative Yuan’s decision, Tsai added. The Legislative Yuan said that given that it enjoys autonomy, and that it has already formed a task force under its Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee to investigate the wiretapping controversy, it rejected the MOJ’s request. When asked by a reporter if the task force will conclude its investigation into the case before the end of this week, Tsai said the investigation is still on-going. Minister of Justice Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said the MOJ will cooperate with the Legislature’s investigative team over the case in accordance with the law. When asked if Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) will be available should the team summon him for questioning, Lo said it depends on the circumstances. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday demanded that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) apologize over the Legislature wiretapping case.

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Hung-chi (林鴻池) said that no matter if the bugging was a mistake or not, “it is wrong to monitor the Legislative Yuan,” noting that the Special Investigative Division (SID) should hold itself accountable.

On Sept. 28 the SID was exposed by local media to have monitored the Legislature’s switchboard for a month.

Huang, who in charge of the SID, claimed the wiretapping was a mistake because the prosecutor in charge of the monitoring mistakenly thought the switchboard number was a cellphone number of an assistant of DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).

The MOJ formed a team to investigate the incident a few days after the controversy was revealed. It has so far collected relevant information from the Taipei District Court, Taipei District Prosecutors Office and the SID, and has questioned Huang, as well as officials of the Investigation Bureau, Criminal Investigation Bureau, and Chunghwa Telecom over the case.