Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih (林益世) yesterday denied allegations that he attempted to demand more money from a company that had given him NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) as a bribe for helping it with a procurement contract when he was a lawmaker.
Calling a press conference at the Executive Yuan in response to a report in the latest issue of the Chinese-language Next Magazine, Lin said he was considering legal action to prove his innocence.
The Next Magazine report alleged that Lin helped Ti Yung Co (地勇選礦公司) secure a two-year contract to procure slag and iron-bearing materials from China Steel Corp (中鋼), the nation’s largest integrated steelmaker, and that Lin received NT$63 million from Ti Yung in return for his assistance.
Lin was then a lawmaker of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). He was appointed to his current post after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was re-elected in January.
The report claimed that Lin used his position to ask state-run China Steel not to renew its contract with Ti Yung after Ti Yung allegedly turned down Lin’s request for a fund of NT$83 million.
The magazine based its allegations on information provided by Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) and his wife, who were in charge of Ti Yung. It said Ti Yung was on the verge of collapse as China Steel had stopped supplying the company with materials as of April 1.
It said Chen then tried to seek Lin’s assistance after April 1, but Lin turned him down.
It added that this led Chen to report the case to the media to “save the company and its employees’ livelihoods.”
Lin said the accusation was “ridiculous” because he, as secretary-general of the Executive Yuan, does not have the power to decide on any contracts China Steel signs with downstream companies.
To disprove the report, Lin presented several documents from China Steel, which stated that it was the Greater Kaohsiung Government that demanded that China Steel Corp stop providing slag to Ti Yung because of environmental issues.
Lin said he had “no reason, no power, whatsoever” to influence the Greater Kaohsiung administration.
At a separate press conference, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Ma should explain to the public how he would handle the bribery allegation against Lin, one of the highest-ranking officials in the country.
Ma has always stressed the importance of eradicating government corruption and has demanded that his fellow KMT members and government officials conduct themselves in the same manner, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
Lin Yi-shih had also written on his blog that “cleanness is the first priority of a politician,” Lin Chun-hsien added.
Ma needs to personally explain then the allegations against Lin Yi-shih, who is among a handful of young KMT up-and-comers that the president has been grooming, the spokesperson said.
The DPP legislative caucus said it was shocked to learn about the reported incident and made three demands at the press conference.
“The caucus demands Lin Yi-shih immediately explain in detail about the alleged scandal. We also demand that Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) suspend him immediately and that the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) launch an investigation immediately,” DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.
Given the full details reported by the magazine, “it is hard to believe that the corruption allegation is untrue,” she said, adding that Lin Yi-shih had admitted that he knew the company’s owner.