A group of Taiwanese judicial officials have cried foul over the replacement of a senior prosecutor in charge of the investigation into alleged corruption implicating President Chen Shui-bian and his wife. The officials said yesterday the replacement of High Court Prosecutors Office leader Hsieh Wen-ting was a 'political purge' after he refused to co-operate with the president over the investigation of the controversial secret state fund corruption scandal. 'Such a personnel appointment is not legally effective,' prosecutor Liu Cheng-wu, a member of the Judicial Reform Society, said of Thursday's decision by a Justice Ministry committee to replace Mr Hsieh. The 17-member committee approved the replacement of Mr Hsieh by Yen Ta-ho despite the absence of 10 committee members. It also approved personnel changes involving 37 senior prosecutors. Mr Liu suggested that the replacement of Mr Hsieh was due mainly to pressure from President Chen and he called on lawmakers to initiate a recall motion to demand the president's resignation. But the Presidential Office rejected the accusation, saying the president had never interfered in the replacement of Mr Hsieh. In November, prosecutors charged Mr Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, with embezzling the secret state funds. They said they had enough evidence to place similar charges against Mr Chen, but had delayed doing so due to his presidential immunity from prosecution.