Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Former minister Kuo quizzed about corruption scandal

POLICE PROBE Kuo Yao-chi was questioned over her approval of a contract bid for recent renovation work at the National Palace Museum

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors yesterday summoned former minister of transportation and communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) and 11 other government officials for questioning about their alleged involvement in a corruption scandal linked to the renovation of the National Palace Museum's main exhibition hall.

The Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau said Kuo approved a contract bid plan for the renovation work while serving as chairwoman of the Executive Yuan's Public Construction Commission (PCC) in March 2001.

It is suspected that the bidding process violated the Government Procurement Law (政府採購法), the bureau said.

officials questioned

The former vice chairman of the PCC, Chiang Yao-chung (江耀宗), and 10 other PCC officials were also questioned.

The interviews were still ongoing at press time.

The museum and the PCC are suspected of favoring architect Lo Hsien-hua (羅興華), who won part of the reconstruction project for the main exhibition hall.

Lo was released on bail last month by Shihlin prosecutors.

The museum's reconstruction project was launched under Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) during his time as director of the museum.

Renovation of the museum's main exhibition building began in 2002 and was finished last year.

The museum was allotted a budget of NT$600 million (US$18 million) after submitting its project proposal to the Legislative Yuan, but then altered more than 1,000 specifications in the reconstruction plans, bringing total construction costs to approximately NT$800 million, the bureau said.

no comment

The bureau said it had no comment on whether it would summon Tu for questioning.

Former museum director Shih Shou-chien (石守謙) was released last month on NT$1 million bail, while several museum officials were remanded in custody.

In February the 42-year-old museum celebrated the reopening of its full exhibition area after its renovation.

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