Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutors to investigate Chen Tien-mao

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung prosecutors yesterday said they will investigate allegations of bribery leveled at presidential advisor and former city council speaker Chen Tien-mao (陳田錨).

The prosecutors were acting on an accusation made on Thursday by Wu Te-mei (吳德美), wife of fugitive former council speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄).

Wu accused Chen of attempting to buy votes during an election for speaker eight years ago.

"We have begun the investigation process. We will not complete it until we establish innocence or guilt," said Chou Chang-chin (周章欽), spokesman for the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office.

Political factors had interfered with justice in her and her hus-band's case, Wu said during an interview with reporters on Thursday.

She said that bribery was very common during local elections, and that Chen had attempted to buy votes from Chu while campaigning for the speaker's post eight years ago.

"I did once receive bribe money from Chen on behalf of my husband, but I returned it straight away," Wu said.

"It was the year my husband ... won his first city council campaign and became a Kaohsiung City councilor," she said.

Wu did not describe the incident in great detail, and did not say how much money she allegedly received from Chen.

"It's our job to determine if Wu's allegation is true, now that she has publicly identified Chen. If it's not true, Chen will have the right to file suit for slander," Chou said.

Chen, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweight, has denied Wu's accusation, saying he never bought votes during his career as a councilor.

"It's ridiculous. The truth will prove her wrong," he said.

Chen is now a senior advisor to the president. He first became a councilor in Kaohsiung City in 1958 and served as speaker for the first time in 1968. Prior to leaving the council in 1998, Chen had been speaker for 17 years.

The Kaohsiung District Court sentenced Chu and Wu to jail for buying votes during last December's election for council speaker.

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