The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday called for an investigation into the role that China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), CHC Resource Corp (中聯資源) and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) might have played in the Lin Yi-shih (林益世) scandal.
The role the two corporations might have played in the scandal has been completely ignored by the Special Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) and it is imperative that the SID clarify those details rather than focus solely on Lin and his family, DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) told a press conference.
Former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin is accused of accepting NT$63 million (US$2.1 million) in bribes from businessman Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) to help him secure a contract from a subsidiary of China Steel and of then demanding more money.
Lin, who has reportedly confessed to accepting the NT$63 million, insists he acted alone and that no member of his family or other government official was involved.
However, as CSC operations could have played a critical role in the alleged bribery case, Wu, who served as premier between September 2009 and February this year, should be investigated for his approval of the controversial appointment of CSC chairman Tsou Juo-chi (鄒若齊) in 2010 as well, Lee said.
Tsou, who retired from state-controlled CSC in 2002, became the first retired employee in history to “un-retire” and work for the company when he was named general manager of the CSC in January 2010 and promoted to the position of chairman six months later.
According to CSC’s internal personnel regulations, Lee said, the hiring of a retired employee who is under the age of 65 should be listed as a special case and be approved by the Executive Yuan.
“That means Tsou’s appointment would not have been possible unless it was approved by then-premier Wu Den-yih,” Lee said.
Tsou’s management and personnel decisions at CSC have been controversial and raised suspicions that he was preparing to funnel benefits to other people, DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.
The first personnel decision Tsou made upon assuming chairmanship was promoting Hsu Chien-min (徐建民) — whose wife, Sun Hsiang-ying (孫祥英), has been Wu’s close aide — as public relations director.
Tsou also campaigned for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Wu during last year’s presidential campaign with the establishment of the booster club of CSC subsidiaries.
Tsou, who had worked for Walsin Lihwa (華新麗華) before returning to CSC, approved a NT$1 billion investment to be the major shareholder of Walsin Lihwa steel company in China — a decision which later proved to be a disaster for CSC, which reported losses for the first time in its history in the fourth quarter last year, Cheng said.
Cheng urged the SID to immediately launch an investigation into CSC and said Ma, who vowed to fight corruption, should order a thorough administrative investigation of the state-controlled company.
“It is obvious that Wu played a role in the current CSC management, which could have involved the bribery case of Lin Yi-shih,” DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said.
“We call for the SID to immediately probe these players before evidence is destroyed,” the lawmaker said.
Wu’s office declined to comment and said that references made by local media and guests on political talk shows to “top-level officials” being involved in the Lin scandal were a fabrication.