Sat, May 09, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Taipei to report Ma, Lee to justice ministry

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou attends a labor awards ceremony in Taipei yesterday. Ma refused to comment on the decision by the Taipei Government Clean Government Committee to refer him to a judicial probe.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government is to report President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to the Ministry of Justice for allegedly illegally profiting Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設), Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) said yesterday.

The Taipei Clean Government Committee yesterday recommended that the city dissolve Farglory’s contract to construct the Taipei Dome, while reporting both Ma and former Taipei Department of Finance commissioner Lee Sush-der (李述德) to the ministry.

Ma and Lee oversaw contract negotiations with Farglory during Ma’s tenure as Taipei mayor.

Teng said that the city would report both men to the ministry as soon as the committee’s recommendation had been formally approved by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

He added that whether the city would seek to dissolve Farglory’s contract had yet to be determined.

“While we accept the Taipei Clean Government Committee’s recommendation, the Department of Legal Affairs will have to research whether it is possible to dissolve the firm’s contract,” said Teng, who chaired the committee meeting yesterday.

He declined to specify a time frame for when a decision would be made.

Teng added that the city’s negotiations with Farglory over the terms of the contract and site safety would not be suspended.

The city government would not order Farglory to do anything regarding the Dome’s ongoing construction, he said.

Taipei Department of Legal Affairs Commissioner Yang Fang-ling (楊芳玲) on Thursday said that the terms of the controversial build-operate-transfer (BOT) contracts under investigation by the committee were “unreasonable,” but not “illegal.”

Meanwhile, Ko yesterday said that the city has decided to use the Taipei Municipal Stadium in its planning for the 2017 Universiade’s opening and closing ceremonies, amid the controversy over the Taipei Dome’s future.

“We have to prepare for the worst case scenario with the Taipei Dome,” Ko said, “Whether the structure will be demolished or modified is unclear and based on Farglory’s attitude, it is uncertain how long negotiations will drag out.”

“If we unlink the Taipei Dome from the Universiade, we will have more time to engage in negotiations at our own pace,” he added.

Ko also questioned statements yesterday by Farglory chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), who said that he had not known that his firm’s contract with the city stipulated it would not be required to pay revenue royalties on the city-owned site.

“Do you really believe a businessman would not know site royalties were zero for a contract worth tens of billions [of New Taiwan dollars]?” Ko said, adding that Chao’s statement defied common sense.

He said that the city plans to announce new procedures for handling BOT projects by early June.

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