Sat, Nov 18, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Official indicted on corruption

SNOUT IN TROUGH?The former vice minister of the interior was charged for allegedly taking NT$1.2 million in bribes and is under suspicion for several other financial crimes

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former vice minister of the interior Yen Wan-chin (顏萬進) yesterday was indicted for receiving bribes in connection with the construction of a cable car system and other scandals.

Taipei prosecutors have asked for a heavy sentence.

Prosecutors said Yen has been accused of taking NT$1.2 million (US$36,400) in bribes from the Rich Development Corp, a construction firm that was awarded a build-operate-transfer bid to construct a cable-car system connecting Taipei's Beitou District and Yangmingshan National Park.

The prosecution added that Yen was also suspected of embezzling political donations for the Democratic Progressive Party totaling NT$5 million.

In addition, Yen is suspected of accepting airline tickets worth more than NT$80,000 from Trans-Asia Airways president Fan Chih-chiang (范志強) for helping Fan to set up a Cambridge University Taiwan alumnus association.

Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Yen to 20 years and seven months in jail for the corruption.

The investigation into Yen initially centered around the plan to construct a cable-car system connecting Beitou with Yangmingshan National Park.

Last December the Rich Development Corp won the bid to construct the cable car system.

It proposed building four cable-car stations, and the Yangmingshan National Park Service Center granted the firm permits for construction in March. The company began construction work in May.

Soon after the permits had been awarded, however, Taipei prosecutors received complaints alleging that the permits had been awarded illegally.

Prosecutors yesterday also charged former Yangmingshan National Park Headquarters Director Tsai Bei-lu (蔡佰祿), secretary Tsai Ming-tien (蔡銘添), technician Hsu Kuo-jung (許國榮) and Kuo Chuan-ching (郭銓慶), the owner of the Rich Development Corp.

The prosecution said that Tsai and other officials approved permits for a total of 183 hot spring hotels and restaurants to be built around the cable car stations just a few days before he retired from his park job last month.

The permits were granted without conducting environmental impact assessments, which is illegal.

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