Thu, Aug 02, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung court cleared me: Hsieh

TUESDAY'S RULING The former mayor said he had been vindicated by the court's decision that the Government Procurement Law did not apply to the KRTC bids case

By Flora Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS , WITH CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that his name had been cleared by the Kaohsiung District Court's ruling on the the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) case -- and he would sue anyone who made further allegations about the case against him.

On Tuesday, the court acquitted three former officials accused of corruption and breach of trust for not following government procurement procedures in conducting six public bids for the Kaohsiung mass rapid transit (MRT) project in 2002.

Former KRTC vice chairman Chen Min-hsien (陳敏賢), former KRTC general manager Lai Hsien-yu (賴獻玉) and former Kaohsiung Bureau of Rapid Transit Systems director Chou Li-liang (周禮良) were members of a five-person committee in charge of the MRT project.

The court ruling said that the Government Procurement Law (政府採購法) did not apply to the six bids because the MRT system is being built on a build-operate-transfer basis.

The court ruled that there was no evidence the trio had affected fair competition among the bidders and that there was no evidence they had disclosed the minimum bid price to benefit any particular construction firms.

Two other defendants, however, were found guilty of taking bribes: Chung Shan-tun (鍾善藤), former secretary-general of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and former Kaohsiung Bureau of Urban Development Director Wu Meng-teh (吳孟德).

Chung was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to give the NT$3 million (US$91,000) he took in bribes to the treasury. Wu was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to surrender the NT$2 million he had received.

"Over the past 500 days, specific media, the pan-blue camp and the prosecutors who leaked information all said the procurement law should apply to the KRTC case and accused us of leaking the bidding price. But the court ruled otherwise," Hsieh said.

"My sufferings over the past 500 days were beyond the imagination of ordinary people," he said.

He demanded all those who had accused both Chou and himself apologize.

Chou told a press conference yesterday that the verdict was an encouragement to public servants who carried out their jobs in accordance with the law.

KMT whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) told a separate press conference that Hsieh had not been cleared and that the judges had not said what happened to a NT$37 million bribe mentioned in the case.

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