Wed, Dec 25, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Taipei officials questioned over MeHAS project

BIG MONEY:The city’s DORTS is suspected of forging a land property estimation document so it would underestimate the Taipei City Government’s stake in the construction project, and overestimate Radium Life’s stake, which cost the city government about NT$10 billion in losses

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Kao Chia-nung, former director for Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems, was taken in for questioning last night at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office regarding his involvement in the MeHAS City development scandal.

Photo: Taipei Times

Taipei prosecutors yesterday launched an investigation into a possible scandal related to the “Mass Rapid Transportation (MRT) Xiaobitan Station Joint Development” project and summoned officials from the Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) for questioning.

In 2006, the department and Radium Life Tech Co (日勝生) signed a contract to jointly carry out the development project, also known as the MeHAS City (美河市) project, in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Sindian District (新店).

MeHAS City was completed in November last year and is near the Xiaobitan MRT Station.

The project sits on 28,000 ping (9.3 hectares) of land along the Xiaobitan riverside and includes residential homes, offices, shopping malls and a movie theater worth NT$30 billion (US$1.0 billion).

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said the department is suspected of forging a land property estimation document so it would underestimate the Taipei City Government’s stake in the construction project, and overestimated Radium Life’s stake, which cost the city government an estimated NT$10 billion in losses.

Prosecutors yesterday morning led investigators to raid five locations, including offices at the department, and summoned nine people for questioning, among them Kao Chia-nung (高嘉濃), former director of the department’s development branch.

Prosecutors named Kao as a suspect in the case, adding that it is likely a case of forgery and profiteering.

Questioning was ongoing as of press time.

The case had previously been investigated by the Control Yuan, which recommended former commissioner Tom Chang (常岐德) and Kao be impeached for their wrongdoing and referred the two officials to the Committee on the Discipline of Public Functionaries for punishment.

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