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Prosecutor-general should be removed from post: MOJ panel

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Justice Ministry's internal committee on oversight yesterday urged that Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming be removed from office over a wiretapping scandal.

The prosecutors' evaluation committee finalized its verdict for Huang, asking the Ministry of Justice to submit the case to the Control Yuan, the highest government watchdog, for further investigation. The committee also recommended that Huang be stripped of his post.

But committee member Kao Yung-cheng pointed out that their group can only make recommendations. If the Control Yuan decides to impeach Huang, it will refer the impeachment to the Judicial Yuan, which has the authority to determine the final fate of impeached officials, he said.

Two other prosecutors, Yang Jong-tsung and Cheng Shen-yuan, who were investigated along with Huang in the same wiretapping investigation, will also be referred to the Control Yuan, the committee said, adding that it recommends a minor censure for the pair.

Huang has been accused of giving President Ma Ying-jeou classified information collected by prosecutors who recorded phone calls by Legislator Ker Chien-ming, leader of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus.

Ma and Huang then used the information to accuse Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng of peddling influence and having a district prosecutor stop pursuing Ker in a lawsuit.

Ma had the ruling Kuomintang expel Wang; however, the speaker secured an injunction to prevent the loss of his party membership and his at-large legislative seat.

Despite his indictment on charges of leaking classified information, Huang has maintained his innocence and refused to step down. His four-year tenure as prosecutor-general is protected by the law and not even Ma, who nominated him, can remove him from office.

The case triggered one of the biggest incidents of infighting inside the KMT in recent years. Although Ma and Wang have shown friendliness to each other in public, the legal battle between the Ma-led KMT and Wang has yet to be resolved, with the party continuing to look for ways to oust the speaker and the speaker being determined to stay on.

A legislative disciplinary committee has cleared Ker of any wrongdoing the case, determining that Wang never peddled influence for the parliamentary minority leader over the lawsuit.

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