Sun, Oct 29, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT lawmakers question Hsieh over Aloha donation

BRIBE The legislators said the former premier accepted NT$3 million in political donations from a tour bus firm in exchange for allowing it to operate without a license

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday charged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) of illegally accepting donations from a tour bus company in exchange for political favors.

KMT Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓) told a press conference that the Aloha Tour Bus Co donated NT$3 million (US$90,171) to the Kaohsiung Development Association, a civic society whose president, Hsu Cheng-chao (徐政朝), is a close friend of Hsieh, in 2002.

KMT Legislator Lwo Shih-hsiung (羅世雄) said that the company continued to operate for more than a year after its license had expired, earning about NT$100 million in the process.

The company was fined about NT$20 million because of a dispute with the Taipei City Government and for operating without a valid license last year, but the fines were never paid, he said.

The company's license, however, was renewed two weeks before Hsieh resigned as premier, which was probably a favor Hsieh did in exchange for the company's political donation, Lwo said.

Lwo and Chou added that Hsieh is establishing his new headquarters at the site of Aloha's old office on Chengde Rd, prompting their suspicion that Hsieh has inappropriate relations with Aloha.

Calling Hsieh's Kaohsiung experience "an experience of corruption [referring to Hsieh's tenure as Kaohsiung mayor] ," Chou demanded that Hsieh clarify his relationship with Aloha, adding that the caucus would hold a press conference every three days to present new evidence against Hsieh.

In response, DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said that the Kaohsiung Development Association was a legal, civic society and it could lawfully accept public donations.

Hsu added that the association has nothing to do with Hsieh.

As the Political Donation Law (政治獻金法) did not take effect until the end of March 2004, it could not apply to Aloha's donation even if the donation were political, Hsu added.

DPP Legislator Lan Mei-chin (藍美津) said Aloha was still making an appeal to the court about the NT$20 million fine, and the company's right to file an appeal should be respected according to the Administrative Appeal Act (行政訴願法).

As for the location of Hsieh's new headquarters, the Taipei mayoral candidate chose the site because the location was good, DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) said.

The lawmaker added that the property was owned by five different landlords, not Aloha.

When approached by reporters for comment, Frank Hsieh said that he would only answer accusations coming from his rival candidate, Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), and not from other legislators.

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