Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Tu questioned in museum probe

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors summoned Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) yesterday for questioning over any knowledge of a corruption case concerning the renovation of the National Palace Museum's main exhibition hall.

The Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau (MJIB) said in a press statement yesterday that Tu was being questioned as a witness.

Tu entered a MJIB office yesterday morning for an interview by bureau agents. He was transfered to another location in the afternoon for another round of questioning by Shilin prosecutors.

Tu was released from the interview at 7:35pm.

Tu approved a contract bid for the renovation of the main exhibition hall while serving as director of the National Palace Museum in 2001. He held the position from 2000 to 2004 before assuming the post of minister of education.

The museum is suspected of favoring architect Lo Hsien-hua (羅興華), who won part of the reconstruction project for the main hall. Lo was released on NT$2 million (US$60,000) bail in June.

Renovation of the museum's main exhibition hall 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 legislature, but then altered more than 1,000 specifications in the reconstruction plans, bringing total construction costs to approximately NT$800 million, the bureau said.

The case involves several high- level museum officials. Tu's successor, Shih Shou-chien (石守謙), whose term ended in January last year, was released last month on NT$500,000 bail. Several museum officials were remanded in custody.

Incumbent Lin Mun-lee (林曼麗) was released without bail after being summoned for questioning as a witness on Thursday.

Prosecutors said they expected to wrap up the case soon after questioning Tu.

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