Fri, Aug 01, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Tainan court finds former NSC official not guilty of graft

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Tainan District Court on Wednesday found former deputy minister of the National Science Council Shieh Ching-jyh (謝清志) innocent of corruption charges.

Ten defendants, including Shieh and Hsu Hung-chang (許鴻章), owner of Sheus Technologies Corp —also known as Hung Hua Engineering — were indicted in 2006, accused of corruption by a rival bidder after Sheus won an NT$8.05 billion (US$262 million) construction tender to reduce the vibrations caused by the high speed rail as it passes through the Southern Taiwan Science Park.

High-tech companies with operations in the park, such as chip manufacturers, are extremely sensitive to vibrations above 48 decibels.

Hsu was sentenced to five months in prison, while the judges decided to drop all charges against the rest of the defendants.

“There was insufficient evidence to prove Shieh’s guilt. Therefore the court had no option other than to rule in favor of him,” the verdict read.

In comments on his blog after the verdict was issued, Shieh, who claimed the charges were politically motivated in an attempt to discredit the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, said: “The damage and insults from the last two years cannot be erased, but the verdict of the first trial has proven the innocence of all the defendants involved.”

In response to the verdict, Tainan prosecutors said that they would file an appeal to the high court.

“We will appeal to the high court after a careful review of the verdict. It is just a matter of when,” said Prosecutor Kao Feng-chi (高峰祈), who was in charge of the probe.

The district court’s verdict raised eyebrows as prosecutors had suggested a 15-year sentence and a fine of NT$30 million (US$1 million) for Shieh when the indictment was submitted on Dec. 25, 2006.

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