The High Court’s Greater Taichung branch on Wednesday ordered a retrial in the breach of trust case involving former Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖) chairman Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) and former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌), which was widely viewed as flawed.
Hong was sentenced on March 13 to two years and four months in prison, while Wu, a former DPP secretary-general, received a term of three years and 10 months after the Greater Taichung branch upheld their conviction in a case involving the 2003 sale of property belonging to Taisugar in the then-Taichung County in 2003.
Wu was accused of giving in, as Taisugar chairman, to Hong’s lobbying for Chun Lung Co (春龍開發公司), a property developer, to ensure that it won the right to purchase a plot of land it was renting from Taisugar. The court ruled that Wu had violated Taisugar’s “rent only” policy on its properties and the sale had caused Taisugar losses.
The two men were to begin serving on May 6, but applied for temporary respite and transfer of jurisdiction.
They said that they were ready to go through the entire legal process “all over again.”
Hong had requested a retrial on April 8, citing new evidence, and asked for a Control Yuan investigation into the case. He cited a list of Taisugar land sales, compiled by the state-controlled company and submitted to the Legislative Yuan on March 15, as new evidence that proved the company no longer had a “rent only” policy on its properties.
A Control Yuan reply on April 17 demanded the Ministry of Justice investigate.
The DPP’s Central Standing Committee on April 24 called for a retrial or extraordinary appeal.
Wednesday’s order for a retrial of Hong and Wu also impacted codefendants Pan Chung-hao (潘忠豪), Chun Long Co general manager, and Lu Yu-mei (呂鈺玫), a Taisugar official. Pan, who was sentenced to three years, seven months — a sentence that could be commuted to a fine and five months’ imprisonment — had reported to prison on May 6. He was released immediately, while Lu was not required to begin serving his term.