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Tue, Jul 31, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP policy advisor Hsieh Tsung-min to quit for electoral bid

ANTI-GRAFT The DPP national policy advisor has decided to seek a legislative seat to help create a mechanism to deal with investigations similar in nature to the Lafayette frigate scandal

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

National policy advisor and DPP member Hsieh Tsung-min (謝聰敏) is to resign today from his post of advisor to the Ministry of Justice to run in the December legislative elections.

"The moment I raise NT$10 million, I will officially announce my intention to run for a legislative seat as an independent candidate," Hsieh told the Taipei Times yesterday, adding that, so far, he had only raised NT$3 million and he needed sufficient political donations to conduct campaign activities.

Hsieh said he was motivated to run for a legislative seat to empower the pushing forward, in the legislature, of legislation to facilitate the establishment of a "judicial watch," a non-governmental organization (NGO), in Taiwan.

He added that the watch, cooperating with other NGOs, would help the government to conduct international negotiations and set judicial agendas.

Hsieh has been instrumental in investigating the Lafayette frigate procurment scandal, having traveled to France twice to collected evidence of kickbacks paid by French company Thomson-CSF.

With Hsieh's assistance, the Control Yuan's investigation team concluded earlier this month that Thomson-CSF paid kickbacks totalling approximately US$500 million to US$700 million.

Hsieh recently expressed frustration at the government's handling of the case.

"It [the investigation] almost stopped. It seems no one's really doing anything," Hsieh said July 18.

Hsieh has argued that the navy should seek arbitration with Thomson-CSF, now called Thales, in the hope that people who took commissions could be named.

"By taking advantage of NGO forces, the government could actually entrust an organization to, say, file a lawsuit to have kickbacks paid in the French Lafayette frigate procurement returned," Hsieh said, adding the judicial watch could also help monitor any purchasing irregularities among government agencies.

As an advisor to the justice ministry, Hsieh has also helped Justice Minister Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) with judicial reforms.

He will therefore meet with minister Chen today to discuss his plans and seek Chen's approval for his decision.

A legislator for two terms from 1993 to 1996, Hsieh yesterday stressed the importance of promoting his NGO concept during the upcoming campaign over winning the seat.

A long-time DPP member, Hsieh will be expelled from the party as soon as he announces his candidacy in the northern constituency of Taipei City.

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