Disappointed at a spate of corruption scandals involving government officials, civic groups yesterday set up an anti-corruption action alliance and pushed for tighter rules on appointment and supervision of the nation's top law enforcement officials.
They also pressed for the resignation of State Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao (吳英昭) who they noted has failed to display competence or moral courage in probes related to ranking government officials.
Chien Hsi-chieh (簡鍚堦), head of the pan-purple alliance and a backer of judicial reform, called on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to sack Wu, under whose leadership he said investigations into various corruption scams have made little progress.
Chieh, also a former ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker, said it is time the government take concrete action and overhaul its prosecutorial system if it means to stamp out dishonest officials and restore the public's trust in the government.
To that end, Chen Wen-chi, chairman of Prosecutors' Association, suggested that future top prosecutors be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Legislature to prevent them from serving at the mercy of the president as is likely the case at present.
All prosecutor-generals, the association added, should also be allowed to serve only one six-year term to spare them the pressure of having to please those who have a say in their reappointment.
Kao Yung-cheng, executive officer of a civic judicial reform group, said the Ministry of Justice should set up review panels to take charge of recruiting prosecutors on all levels.
The panel should consist of 17 members, to be named by the justice Minister and state prosecutor-general respectively, Kao said, adding the minister should however have the ultimate power in deciding the personnel matter.
Wu said he backed the proposed legal revisions and would comply with them once they are passed into law. The top prosecutor added he has tried very hard to enhance the efficiency of law enforcement agencies, but there is still ample room for improvement.