Wed, Mar 14, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Wu Tse-yuan indicted for another corruption scandal

By Jou Ying-cheng and Irene Lin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Panchiao District Prosecutors' office yesterday indicted independent lawmaker Wu Tse-yuan (伍澤元) on corruption charges connected with the construction of the Pali Sewage Treatment Plant (八里污水處理廠) in Taipei County over a decade ago.

Wu allegedly received NT$30 million in kickbacks for the project while head of the Taiwan Provincial Planning and Developing Department.

Prosecutors recommended the court sentence Wu to 15 years in jail for the crime and revoke his citizen's rights for seven years. Three other officials in the department were also indicted, with prosecutors requesting sentences from eight to 15 years.

Between 1987 and 1992 Wu and other officials paid a contractor involved in the plant's construction over NT$62 million in design fees even though the company failed to complete its assigned work, prosecutors said.

The indictment also says that Wu and his cohorts manipulated the criteria for contractors awarding the project to selected companies. Wu also inflated the budget of the project from NT$ 2.4 billion to NT$5.138 billion.

The company which conspired with Wu was awarded the contract for NT$4.343 billion and Wu illegally paid the company 30 percent of that total immediately after the contract was signed, the indictment says.

Wu was unable to be reached for comment yesterday.

Wu is currently in the process of appealing a 15-year conviction in another cash-for-favors scandal, in which he was found to have had accepted more than NT$6 million in kickbacks from a company which bid for a pumping station project in 1992.

Wu, who was detained after a trial by the Panchiao District Court in 1996, was granted bail for medical reasons by the High Court in May 1998.

Seven months after his release, the former KMT politician was elected to the legislature -- despite his membership having been revoked by the party, which disapproved of his campaign.

As an enormously powerful politician in the southern county of Pingtung, Wu received widespread attention due to his involvement in the case. Previous court rulings have swung wildly between his favor and that of the prosecutors.

He was previously sentenced to life in prison by the Panchiao District Court, but the sentence was reversed later in higher courts, which then invoked doubts over the impartiality of the court.

Apart from his sentence, Wu's medical parole has also been attacked in light of his run for the legislature. Some critics have called for the lawmaker to be put back in detention.

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