Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Tuesday he was innocent and expressed confidence a court would agree after being indicted earlier that day.
"I will go to court to fight for justice," Ma said.
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office indicted Ma for allegedly abetting then State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) to leak confidential information related to an ongoing investigation of an opposition lawmaker in 2013 to former Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and former Deputy Secretary-General to the Presidential Office, Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強).
The office has therefore indicted Ma for violation of the Criminal Code, Communication Security and Surveillance Act and Personal Information Protection Act, which carries up to three years in prison.
After attending the opening ceremony of the first National Taiwan University Harvard Forum, Ma noted that in the wake of the indictment the man at the center of influence-peddling case has faced no legal proceedings whereas he has now been indicted for responding to that illegal behavior.
"Is that justice?" he asked.
Ma said the prosecution had not understood his explanations of the 2013 incident during the investigation period.
He said that after then State Prosecutor-General Huang reported to him on the influence peddling incident, as it involved Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and other government agencies, if it came to light, the case would be a "huge scandal."
This was why he discussed the matter with Premier Jiang and his chief staff Lo.
Ma cited two major reasons for his decision. First, the case would affect future relations between the executive and the legislative branches and the progress of bills sent by the Executive Yuan, so he had to discuss the matter with Jiang.
Second, as influence peddling falls under the remit of the justice minister and the appointment or dismissal of the minister is the joint responsibility of the president and the premier, so he asked Jiang and Lo for a meeting to "deal with a political crisis."
"This was standard procedure to deal with such matters and involved no criminal deeds," Ma said.
Huang was later found guilty of approving an illegal wiretap and leaking information from an ongoing criminal investigation to Ma.
Huang also approved a transcript of the wiretapped conversation when the Special investigation Division (SID) reported possible misconduct based on a conversation overheard between Speaker Wang and opposition Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
In the conversation, Wang and Ker discussed lobbying two senior justice officials to prevent an appeal of Ker's recent acquittal in a breach of trust case.
Huang's actions in reporting to the president had no constitutional basis, according to a Ministry of Justice committee, as the Republic of China Constitution does not list the president as the head of the Legislative Yuan, Ministry of Justice or Executive Yuan.
The committee said Huang had undermined the credibility of the Supreme Prosecutors Office, under which the SID operated. It recommended his dismissal and Huang resigned in March, 2014 after being sentenced to a 14-month jail term. The sentence was confirmed in Feb. 2015 and increased to 15 months.
On Oct. 31, 2016, Huang was ordered by Taipei District Court to pay Ker NT$620,000 (US$19,628) in damages, the result of a civil suit in the same case.
The SID, established in 2007 to investigate allegations of corruption by senior government and military officials, was disbanded on Jan.1 this year.
(By Claudia Liu, S.C. Chang and Lilian Wu)