Sun, Oct 03, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Hau to sue councilor over claims

PASSING NOTES:DPP Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung said the mayor coached an official how to answer questions at a council session about the scandal

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said he would file a lawsuit against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) for implicating him in the Xinsheng Overpass reconstruction scandal.

Hau denied Chuang’s accusations that he gave instructions to Chen Chih-sheng (陳智盛), then-section chief of the construction department, on how to respond during a question-and-answer session in the Taipei City Council, and said Chuang was making false accusations as a smear campaign against him.

“The accusations are not true and this is obviously a political ploy for election purposes. I regret deeply Chuang’s groundless accusations and have decided to file a lawsuit to ensure that the public does not get the wrong message,” Hau said when reporters asked him for comment after attending a campaign event in Taipei.

Chuang on Friday challenged the Taipei City Government’s previous statement that Chao Kuang-chung (趙光中), a division chief at Taipei City’s Secretariat, wrote a note and passed it to Chen during a city council session last month, and alleged that Hau was the person who wrote and passed the note to Chen.

Chuang told the Chinese--language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that according to video clips of the -question-and-answer session on Aug. 31, Hau, who was answering questions from DPP Taipei City Councilor Liu Yao-ren (劉耀仁) on the council floor, wrote the note at about 3pm and passed it to Chen at about 3:04pm.

The note, which asked Chen to rephrase his comments on the city government overpaying for plants for the reconstruction project from “simple negligence” to “administrative negligence,” was part of the body of evidence prosecutors have collected in probing the scandal. The prosecutors said they suspected that top officials from the city government were involved in the case after they discovered the note.

Hau and the city government have insisted that the overpriced flower purchase plan was an administrative mistake and that there were no illegal acts involved in the project.

Chen, who has resigned since the scandal erupted, and Huang Hsi-hsun (黃錫薰), former -director of Taipei City’s Department of New Construction, are currently in detention.

Chuang urged the prosecutors to question Hau and conduct a handwriting analysis to determine whether Hau was involved in the case.

Taipei City’s Law and Regulation Commission chief Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元) protested against Chuang’s allegations, accusing the councilor of defamation and making “irresponsible” remarks. Yeh also said Chuang had violated the Civil Servants’ Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) by spreading rumors that could prevent Hau from winning the mayoral election.

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