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Taiwan President approves Judicial Yuan chief’s resignation

Taiwan President approves Judicial Yuan chief’s resignation

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou on Sunday approved the resignation of Judicial Yuan President Lai In-jaw to take responsibility for the alleged buying of three judges by a former Kuomintang lawmaker.
Prosecutors detained the three Taiwan High Court judges, a prosecutor and two go-betweens last week on allegations that they worked on a scheme to help find former KMT legislator Ho Chi-hui not guilty of corruption in return for money. Ho is still missing.
Lai told a news conference the case had seriously damaged the reputation of the judiciary, so he had to take up the responsibility and resign. He called for support from the public for the judicial system.
Lai also offered his resignation from the Council of Grand Justices. The president of the Judicial Yuan has to be one of the 15 members of the Council, which rules on the constitutionality of important issues.
He said that if the president wanted to nominate a new Judicial Yuan president from outside the council, he was willing to step aside and make way on the council.
Ma’s approval of Lai’s resignation was announced by the Presidential Office earlier Sunday, after a meeting between the two leaders.
“President Ma reluctantly accepted Lai’s offer after failing to convince him to stay on in his post during a meeting held earlier in the day,” presidential spokesman Lo Chih-chiang told reporters.
Pressure had been building on Lai to resign after judicial reform activists said Thursday he should take responsibility. The government has come under sharp criticism for the scandal because of Ho’s role as a ruling party politician and Ma’s past as justice minister.
Lai’s deputy, Hsieh Tsai-chuan, and the chairman of the Taiwan High Court, Huang Shui-tung, had also tendered their resignations, reports said.
President Ma is scheduled to call a meeting Tuesday to discuss the likelihood of setting up a government anti-corruption agency, Lo said. The president would announce his decision after the meeting later that day, the spokesman said.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party said Lai’s departure was not enough and could even be counterproductive.
Each time there is a scandal, only one person is removed from office, said former Vice President Annette Lu, questioning the government’s will to push through real reforms.
Former Premier Su Tseng-chang was also pessimistic, accusing the KMT of leaving people who interfered with the justice system in senior legislative positions, a reference to Ho, a long-time lawmaker and former Miaoli County Magistrate.
Senior DPP legislator Ker Chien-ming said that Lai had a reformist image as an outsider. Nominating a successor from inside the judiciary might not be the best way to improve the system, Ker said.
The judicial scandal broke on July 13 when raids in 34 locations led to the detention of High Court judges Lee Chun-ti, Tsai Kuang-chih and Chen Jung-ho, as well as Banciao-based prosecutor Chiu Mao-jung, a woman friend of one of the judges, and Ho’s secretary.
Prosecutors later revealed that Ho was accused of paying the judges to find him not guilty in a corruption case surrounding a science park in Tunglo, Miaoli County. A district court had originally sentenced the politician to 19 years in jail, but the Taiwan High Court found him not guilty last May.
Ho reportedly escaped just before investigators visited his home on July 13, leading to rumors that he might have been tipped off. He has not been seen since, while reports suggest he might have escaped to China, a popular destination for Taiwanese politicians wanted by the law.


Updated : 2021-06-13 02:05 GMT+08:00