Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Ma confidante faces bribery charges

CORRUPTION:Lai Su-ju, who runs President Ma Ying-jeou’s KMT office, says the NT$1 million she received from a public project bidder was a political donation

By Mo Yan-chih, Chen Ching-min and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters,with staff writer and CNA

He declined to comment on whether he believed Chiu to be innocent, but cited the example of Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (台北捷運) chairman Yang Hsi-an (楊錫安) and called on the public not to rush to conclusions before a final ruling on the case is announced.

Yang was removed from his post as Taipei Secretariat Office head after he was listed as a defendant in 2010 over his alleged involvement in the Xinsheng Overpass construction scandal. The prosecutors did not indict him because they did not have enough evidence to prove his involvement in the case.

When asked about Lai, Hau said he was surprised by her alleged involvement in the scandal, but added that he respected the investigation.

The Presidential Office and the KMT were yesterday tight-lipped in response to Lai’s alleged involvement in the case.

Both Ma and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) declined to comment.

KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said the party respects the investigation process and that it would face candidly face the results of the investigation.

Lai, a four-term Taipei City councilor, has been a trusted aide of Ma since his stint as Taipei mayor. She represented Ma and other top pan-blue politicians in several high-profile court cases in recent years.

Lai, 49, became the second KMT politician with close links to Ma to be implicated in corruption scandals, after former party vice chairman and Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) was indicted on graft charges in October last year.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday said the Ma administration was an “absolute power that is also absolutely corrupt.”

Pointing to the recent string of corruption cases involving KMT officials such as Lin, Nantou County Commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) and now Lai, the DPP caucus said the Ma administration should apologize to the public for failing to meet its promise of maintaining a clean government.

The Ma administration has always said it is clean and honest, but many of the people nominated by Ma are now embroiled in corruption and graft, DPP caucus whip Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said, adding that Ma has neither issued a word of apology nor condemned any of these individuals.

DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) raised further questions about the Twin Towers project, saying the outsourcing contract was suspicious.

The project involves a public investment of more than NT$70 billion, but it was contracted to a company that has a registered capital of only NT$70 million, she said, adding that the company has neither a company logo nor marker at its registered address.

The prosecution should make an in-depth inquiry into the matter and find who was the middleman who had covered or leaked the list of committee members who had reviewed the outsourcing bid and how Lai was involved and what role she played, Chen said.

The prosecution should not just stop at the tip of the iceberg, she added.

Additional reporting by AFP

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