Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary-general Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) yesterday denounced his conviction in a case involving the sale of land by Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖) in 2003 and said it was the result of “political interference.”
The High Court’s Taichung Branch upheld the original conviction and handed Wu a prison term of three years, 10 months. It also handed a two-year, four-month prison term to former DPP legislator Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌).
Wu, who was chairman of Taisugar in 2003, was accused of giving in to lobbying by Chun Lung Co (春龍開發公司), a property development firm, and ensured it won the right to purchase a plot of land it was renting from Taisugar in an industrial park in Greater Taichung’s Wufeng District (霧峰).
As chairman of a state-owned enterprise, Wu was found to have carried out the real-estate sale without consulting the Ministry of Economic Affairs and allowed Chun Lung Co to purchase the land at below market price.
Along with Wu and Hong, Chun Lung Co general manager Pan Chung-hao (潘忠豪) was sentenced to three years, seven months for his involvement in the case, a sentence that can be commuted to a fine and five months’ imprisonment.
Other Taisugar officials were sentenced to between two and three years for their roles in the case.
The court sentenced Wu, Hong and other officials for breach of trust and for causing Taisugar financial losses.
Wu said the judges had distorted the facts.
“I cannot accept this decision. The ruling has a strong hint of political interference,” Wu said.
In a statement, Wu said that a land value appraisal, setting the starting bid price and the whole tender procedure was carried out by Taisugar officials and unanimously approved by the board of directors before the sale went ahead.
He said the sale proceeded on Aug. 24, 2004, after he had left his position as company chairman in December 2003.
“It means that the sale of the land was eight months after I left Taisugar,” he said.
Taisugar has an internal company mechanism for appraising the value of land, Wu said. However, in the court ruling there was no objective evidence proving the price was below the market price, he said.
Wu also said he was very disappointed because he had provided land value appraisals at the time of the sale which were assessed by objective, impartial agencies, but that this evidence had been ignored by the judges.
Hong released a statement calling into question the impartiality of the judicial system, adding that he would seek justice by other means.