Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Contractor of Taipei Dome cries foul

'ULTERIOR MOTIVES’ The chairman of Farglory said that the group did not violate any regulations and accused a former contractor of instigating a smear campaign

By Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The controversy surrounding the construction of the Taipei Dome intensified after the contractor, Farglory Group (遠雄集團), ran an advertisement in several Chinese-language newspapers yesterday.

The ad suggested foul play was behind the Control Yuan’s recent issuance of corrective measures against the Taipei City Government, a move that could lead to suspension of the project.

In the statement, Farglory chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) suggested there were “ulterior motives” behind the corrective measures implemented against the Public Construction Commission and the Taipei City Government earlier this month.

The Control Yuan ruled that the commission infringed on the authority of the city government by annulling decisions about the construction made by a city review commission on three separate occasions.

The Control Yuan said that there were 39 problems with the project, including the changing of subcontractors and the design of the stadium, as well as the expansion of the building from three stories to four to create more space for department stores.

The city government failed to refer the revised construction plan, which included changing subcontractors, to its review commission for approval in violation of the Act for Promotion of Private Participation in Infrastructure Projects (促進民間參與公共建設法), the Control Yuan said.

Following the issuance of the corrective measures, which were released one day before the group’s new construction plan was to be reviewed, the city government called off the scheduled meeting.

Chao held a press conference protesting the measures.

He insisted that the group did not violate any regulation by changing subcontractors and accused architect Ricky Liu (劉培森), head of a former subcontractor, of instigating a smear campaign against him after Farglory ended its cooperation with him.

In the statement, Chao said that the group’s original subcontractors — Liu, Japan’s Takenaka Corp and Japanese architect Hara Hiroshi — pulled out of the project in September 2004 after the group rejected their “unreasonable” demands for “enormous profits.”

Since then, Liu has tried every means possible to persuade the Taipei City Government and the city council to nullify the bid for the construction project after Farglory was named as the preferred bidder and started contract negotiations with the city government, Chao’s statement said.

“It seemed that there was an invisible figure manipulating the Control Yuan’s investigation, as it was timed to coincide with the Taipei City Government’s meeting to review the project. This coincidence looked like a repetition of the drama in September 2004,” Chao said.

Chao described the Taipei Dome project as a major municipal project that would “benefit the public,” saying the city needed a world-class stadium for sports events. Chao expressed his disappointment over the delays.

“A construction project that Taipei residents have been looking forward to is being delayed indefinitely because of some individuals ... I will not participate in any public construction in the future,” he said.

Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄), the Control Yuan member in charge of the case, called a press conference in the afternoon to respond to Chao’s accusations.

“I will not allow anyone to harm the Control Yuan’s image and reputation,” Huang said, adding that the investigation into the case was prompted by “pure motives” and conducted to “fulfill [the Control Yuan’s] constitutional duty.”

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