Wed, Nov 14, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Officials questioned over improper land lease, sale

STAFF WRITER

The deputy head of the Ministry of Finance's National Property Bureau, Chen Kuan-pao (陳官保), and several other officials were questioned by prosecutors yesterday over allegedly illegal transactions involving a piece of bureau land.

Prosecutors from the Taipei District Public Prosecutor's Office searched 17 locations and questioned Chen, former bureau deputy head Su Wei-cheng (蘇維成) and 11 other officials.

Also questioned were the owner of the Jun He Construction Company, Lee Lien-shun (李煉順), its president Tsai Ming-jun (蔡銘俊) and general manager Chien Hsing-chi (簡性琦), as well as the owner of the Liu Te Construction Company, Wang Ming-tao (王明道), and eight employees.

Prosecutors said the officials illegally rented a 661m2 plot of land to the Jun He Construction Company between 2004 and 2005.

The company, which then bought the land, sold it to Liu Te Construction Company, which was planning to build expensive housing at the site.

The land is located near the intersection of Hangzhou S Road Sec 2 and Chaozhou Street.

Current land prices value the plot at around NT$400 million (US$12.35 million), but the Liu Te Construction Company acquired it for only NT$100 million, prosecutors said.

The land was initially used for a public dormitory, but this was abandoned when it was rented out.

The deal was illegal because the officials had rented it without a public tender, the prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they learned from informants that there might be irregularities in the transaction and discovered evidence in this regard after investigating.

Prosecutor Chen Shu-yun (陳淑雲) instructed 40 agents to search the offices of the bureau, the Jun He Construction Company and the homes of the suspects in search of documentation.

It was not clear if or how the officials had profited from the deal, prosecutors said.

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