Thu, Nov 02, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Farglory urged to renegotiate dome contract

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je yesterday comments on the unfinished Taipei Dome project at a news conference in Taipei.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government yesterday urged Taipei Dome contractor Farglory Group (遠雄集團) to renegotiate its contract, with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) saying that legal and safety issues have always been the city’s focus in the handling of the dome’s construction.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday said that it is seeking a 24-year jail sentence for Farglory Group founder Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) for alleged bribery and breach of trust in cases involving several public construction projects, which prompted Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) to call a news conference to discuss the dome project outside his office yesterday.

Chen, who represented the city government in negotiating with Farglory, said: “I am cleaning up the mess of the previous administration led by [then-Taipei mayor] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).”

Chen said he has not communicated with the company since Chao’s indictment, but in a previous meeting he asked the company to send documents required for the resumption of construction to the city government for review, adding that the company had submitted them before a city council question-and-answer session began.

“A new problem involving the project has emerged, which is that of the city government’s alleged loss of billions of New Taiwan dollars in income from royalties [which the previous administration agreed the company did not have to pay], and would involve renegotiating the contract,” Chen said.

“We urge Farglory to come and renegotiate with us as soon as possible, because stalling is not a solution to the problem,” he said, adding that whether the contract can be renegotiated or whether the company wants to continue the project would need further discussion after the two sides meet.

Ko said the city government under his direction has always followed the principles of fair and transparent dealings over the Taipei Dome, and did not try to deny or gave in to the difficulties left by the previous administration, despite the negative effects it has had on his public support.

“The city government’s priority is that the Dome must be safe,” he said, adding that the city government halted the construction project on May 20, 2015, because the company did not operate according to construction plans.

Rulings by the appeal committee, the Control Yuan and the Executive Yuan all proved that the city government’s order to halt the construction for safety reasons was legal, he said.

Taipei Department of Legal Affairs Commissioner Yuan Hsiu-hui (袁秀慧) said the former commissioner had begun modifying the contract under Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi’s (鄧家基) instruction after Ko took office, but the modification process was later suspended because the project was halted.

As the project is now in the process of being reviewed for resumption of construction, the contract modification process would also be relaunched, she said, adding that the amount of royalties would need further calculation and negotiation.

Responding to media inquiries about whether Taiwan Architecture and Building Center (TABC) safety reviews of the dome might be flawed, Ko said the review committee members have changed, but he cannot speak for the center.

Former TABC chief executive officer Hsu Ming-wen (許銘文) was also charged on Tuesday.

Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) said the project has been reviewed by the center three times, in 2011, 2012 and this year, and all committee members but one have changed since 2011.

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