The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday filed a lawsuit against Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) Minister Emile Sheng (盛治仁) for allegedly favoring certain performance companies and individuals in the bidding process for the staging of a rock musical to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China.
DPP spokesmen Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) and Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) filed the lawsuit with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on behalf of the party.
Chuang said it was suspicious that the two-night presentation of the rock musical, Dreamers, cost more than NT$215 million (US$7.15 million), and that the project was divided into 11 bids, of which six were restricted bids worth NT$180 million, to evade the Public Procurement Act (政府採購法).
Chuang added it was also suspicious that of the 13 bids, six winning bids equaled the government’s base prices exactly, while another only came in at a NT$300 difference.
Chuang added that a foreign musical with a large production costs about US$10 million and that those musicals often run for at least 15 to 20 years. However, Dreamers (夢想家) was only put on for two days.
Chuang said the DPP was accusing Sheng of corruption and leaking confidential information.
Liang said the “creativity design project” portion, with a NT$39 million budget, was not put up for public auction, but went to Performance Workshop Theatre founder Stan Lai (賴聲川) in December last year.
Liang said his sources told him that Lai brought officials of companies linked to his performance theater on Jan. 10 this year to inspect the outdoor theater in Greater Taichung, which was scheduled to stage the rock musical. Those companies subsequently won contracts to handle lighting, audio, stage properties and other components in May and June.
Liang said the bid to handle the stage control system had a budget of NT$58 million, but some companies allegedly said they could do it for about NT$30 million.
Liang said that for Taipei’s Deaflympics in 2009 and the Taipei International Flora Expo, Lai and those companies closely associated with him won the rights to the projects because of Lai’s connections with Sheng.
On Thursday, Sheng said all matters concerning the musical were conducted in accordance with procedures. He added he had asked the council’s Department of Government Ethics to submit all relevant information to the judiciary for an investigation and that he would refuse to play into the opposition’s hand by commenting further.