Judge impeached over conflict of interest in trial of businessman

09/14/2021 10:20 PM
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The Control Yuan. File photo courtesy of the Control Yuan
The Control Yuan. File photo courtesy of the Control Yuan

Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) A Supreme Administrative Court judge has been impeached for failing to recuse himself from a case in which a company owned by a businessman acquaintance of his was the plaintiff in a contract dispute against the government, the Control Yuan said Tuesday.

The Control Yuan, the watchdog branch of the government, said its members voted 9-2 Tuesday to impeach Judge Cheng Shiao-kang (鄭小康), who had presided over the case brought up by businessman Wong Maw-jang's (翁茂鍾) company I-Hwa Industrial Co. in 2008.

In a statement, the Control Yuan said Cheng should have recused himself from the trial because he had been socializing with the businessman and had accepted gifts from him before Wong's company filed a lawsuit in response to being accused of breaching a government contract.

The acquaintanceship between Cheng and Wong was discovered during a Judicial Yuan investigation into corruption allegations against Shih Mu-chin (石木欽), a former head of what is now the Disciplinary Court, and into Shih's relationship with Wong, according to the statement.

Investigators learned that Cheng had gone to dinner with Wong at least three times before the judge was assigned to the I-Hwa case, and he had accepted four shirts from the businessman as gifts, the Control Yuan said.

Following the Judicial Yuan investigation of Shih, the findings on Cheng's involvement with Wong were handed over in April to the government watchdog branch, the statement said.

In 2008, Cheng was the presiding judge in the case of I-Hwa, which did not hire the required number of Indigenous people on a government contract and was not willing to pay the alternative costs, in violation of the Indigenous Peoples Employment Rights Protection Act.

After Cheng's impeachment was announced, he told CNA that he respected the Control Yuan's decision.

The impeachment case will next be sent to the Disciplinary Court, which in June began the trial of Shih.

Meanwhile, Wong was also convicted in another case on Sept. 7 for being an accomplice in forging his record of community service, which he was required to carry out after his 2012 conviction in another case.

Under Taiwan law, Cheng cannot apply for retirement before his impeachment case is heard in the Disciplinary Court, which may decide to either issue a warning or fire him, if he is found to have violated the relevant rules of conduct.

(By Chen Chun-hua, Liu Shih-yi and Kay Liu)


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