Sun, Jun 04, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Hsieh implicated in bribe probe

BLACK GOLD The former premier's role in a corruption scandal related to the KRTC probe is being investigated by prosecutors, who have already detained several suspects

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung prosecutors are investigating former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) on suspicion of accepting bribes from a construction company working on the city's MRT, while one of his associates was detained in connection with the case.

Hsieh has been in prosecutors' sights ever since the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal came to light. Prosecutors have said that they are still investigating to determine whether Hsieh had any involvement in the scandal.

Chang Hsueh-ming (張學明), lead prosecutor at the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Kaohsiung Office, told the Taipei Times yesterday that the Taipei branch of a Japanese construction firm, Taisei Corp, won a public bid for six major construction projects related to the city's MRT project.

A Japanese official from Taisei named Ryoji Kikawa has been detained, along with a man named Chen Chien-ting (陳建廷) from an unnamed Taiwanese firm, for allegedly offering NT$32 million (US$1 million) to a man named Chang Chi-jung (張志榮), who was also detained.

Chang Hsueh-ming said the Kaohsiung District Court rejected prosecutors' application to keep Chang chi-jung in custody, but released him on bail of NT$300,000.

Chang Chi-jung was the chair of the New Culture Foundation established by Hsieh in 1991, the prosecutor added.

The prosecutor said authorities were trying to discover where the bribe went and whether Hsieh was involved in the corruption because of his close ties to Chang Chi-jung.

Prosecutors discovered in June 2002 that Kikawa, Chen and Chang Chi-jung dined together at a restaurant in Taipei.

Also, two commissioners from a five-member committee that conducted six public bids for the Kaohsiung MRT construction project, as well as former director of Kaohsiung City's Bureau of Urban Development Wu Meng-te (吳孟德) and former secretary-general of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications Chung Shan-tun (鍾善藤) appeared at the event and dined with the suspects.

Three months later, the Japanese firm was awarded the largest of the six projects. Prosecutors said that the bids for the six projects were flawed and skewed in favor of the Japanese firm, because the firm won the NT$8 billion contract despite the fact that RSEA Engineering Co offered a bid that was NT$2.7 billion lower.

They said city officials had rigged the bidding so that any company that won two of the six auctions could not take part in the rest. They are also suspected of manipulating the bidding process by holding the auctions for smaller projects first.

When RSEA Engineering Co won the first two smaller bids, it was forced out of the game for the bigger auctions, prosecutors said.

Five people, including Wu and Chung, were indicted for corruption and breach of trust last November, along with former deputy secretary-general to the Presidential Office Chen Che-nan (陳哲男).

Meanwhile, Hsieh yesterday expressed his disapproval over comparisons between his relationship with Chang Chi-jung and President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) relationship with Chen Che-nan.

This story has been viewed 6125 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top