Wed, Aug 01, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Two ex-officials convicted in KRTC case

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two former officials yesterday were found guilty of taking bribes in connection to the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal, and three were found not guilty. All five were found not guilty of violating the Government Procurement Law (政府採購法).

The Kaohsiung District Court sentenced the former director of Kaohsiung City's Bureau of Urban Development, Wu Meng-te (吳孟德), to 12 years in prison, while former Ministry of Transportation and Communications secretary-general Chung Shan-tun (鍾善藤) received a four-year term.

The court ruling said Chung was given a lighter sentence because he had confessed to taking bribes.

The court said Chung received NT$3 million (US$90,000) and Wu received NT$2 million from a Japanese construction firm for helping it to win one of the main bids for Kaohsiung's MRT project.

The two men served on the committee that conducted six public bids for the Kaohsiung MRT project in 2002.

The court said there was no evidence that the three other commissioners on the committee -- former KRTC general manager Lai Hsien-yu (賴獻玉), former KRTC vice chairman Chen Min-hsien (陳敏賢) and former Kaohsiung Bureau of Rapid Transit Systems director Chou Li-liang (周禮良) -- had taken bribes from the Japanese firm.

The court found that the MRT project was a build-operate-transit (BOT) project, not a government construction project, so the Government Procurement Law (政府採購法) did not apply to the case.

A spokesman for Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that the court ruling showed the former Kaohsiung mayor was innocent.

Hsieh campaign office spokesman Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) told a press conference that the verdict showed that Hsieh's actions could withstand close scrutiny.

"More than 50 people were summoned as witnesses. None of the statements mentioned that Hsieh was involved in any wrongdoing," Chao said.

He said that the only defendent who had been appointed by Hsieh -- Chou Li-liang -- had been found not guilty.

Chao criticized the "pro-blue media" and "pro-blue prosecutors" for their "fraudulent accusations" against Hsieh over the KRTC case, saying that they were trying to discredit the former mayor.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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