Tue, Sep 17, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Wong denies Su's Zanadau allegations

WHO'S LYING?The former KMT lawmaker whom the head of Zanadau Development Corp accuses of helping her bribe his fellow lawmakers, says he never took a dime from her

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A former KMT lawmaker who has allegedly played a key role in alleged financial irregularities surrounding Zanadau Development Corp insisted yesterday he did not get a dime from his accuser.

Former KMT lawmaker Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞), who major Zanadau investor Su Hui-chen (蘇惠珍) accused of helping bribe fellow legislators on her behalf back in 1998, dismissed the charge as groundless.

He urged reporters to check legislative records on his stance over the matter and challenged Su to identify his former colleagues who reportedly took money from him.

Su told a morning news conference that Wong and Lee Ming-tse (李明哲) extracted a vast sum from her in 1998 when authorities launched a probe into irregular stock transactions involving Taiwan Fertilizer (Taifertilizer).

According to Su, Lee told her Wong could help remove obstacles to Taifertilizer investing in Zanadau, a Kaoshiung-based company that has worked to build an 11-hectare shopping mall in the county.

She said it took her NT$5 million each to "placate" individual legislators who set up an ad hoc penal in May 1998 to look into allegations that Taifertilizer engaged in dishonest activities to boost its share prices.

Some have suspected the probe was an attempt by lawmakers to interfere with the state-run enterprise with a view to seek personal gain.

Legislative records show Wong and then-DPP lawmaker Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) spoke against the planned privatization of Taifertilizer in June the same year on grounds the price set for its shares was too low.

"I was firmly against the sale of Taifertilizer at that time," said Wong, whose family wields formidable influence in Chiayi County. "That being so, I could not have taken bribes from Su or helped her buy off other lawmakers."

The committee drew members from across party lines, including incumbent DPP lawmakers Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌), Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Lin Wen-lang (林文郎). Former KMT legislators Gary Wang (王令麟), Wu Ko-ching (吳克清) and Chen Ching-pao (陳清寶) also sat on the 17-member panel -- and so did their former New Party colleagues Josephine Chu (朱惠良) and Stella Chou (周荃).

Wong, who lost the elections for Chiayi County commissioner last December, demanded his accuser offer a prompt explanation to restore his reputation.

"Su had better tell the people which lawmakers I helped bribe and how much I paid them. She cannot taint my name with a bunch of unfounded accusations," he said.

The former legislator denied any involvement in a fake land deal to cover up the bribery as Su has claimed.

Su said she inked a contract with Wong in the back of a Tainan temple that allowed Wong to keep the money already paid -- if the transaction was called off later.

"As the money was intended to buy off Wong rather than purchase the real estate, the deal was later cancelled," she said. "The investigators may interrogate Wong and his accomplice to learn more about the influence-peddling scheme." Su conceded that her failure to obtain loans for the Zanadau project prompted her to expose the scandal.

Several investors, among them KMT-owned businesses, decided to pull out of the multi-million NT dollar venture following the power transfer and the ensuing economic downturn.

But Su has laid the blame chiefly on former KMT business manager Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英), who she alleges asked for more than NT$1 billion from her in exchange for an agreement to help secure bank loans.

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