Sun, Oct 12, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Former defendants accuse politicians and media of bias

By Loa Iok-Sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The former defendants in a corruption scandal involving a former National Science Council (NSC) deputy minister and the nation’s leading rocket scientist accused the media and politicians yesterday of manipulating the case.

Yesterday marked the launching of a new book by scientist Shieh Ching-jyh’s (謝清志), who wrote about the long judicial process from 2006 to the middle of this year and shared some stories from his personal life.

The 10 defendants, including Shieh, members of an NSC bidding review committee and Sheus Technologies Corp owner Hsu Hung-chang (許鴻章), were indicted in 2006 after legislators and a rival bidder accused them of rigging the bid on a construction tender to reduce vibrations caused by the high speed rail as it passes through the Southern Taiwan Science Park.

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

Prosecutors recommended a 15-year sentence and a fine of NT$30 million (US$925,400) for Shieh when the indictment was submitted on Dec. 25, 2006. Nine of the defendants — with the exception of Hsu — were acquitted by the Tainan District Court at the end of July.

“Politicians manipulated the issue for their own gains, while the media followed by exaggerating the case,” Lin Tsung-yi (林聰意), one of the defendants and an NSC review committee member told the audience at the book launching.

“What’s worse is prosecutors handled the case based mostly on media reports, not on their own investigations,” he said.

Shieh, who expressed his gratitude to friends and family for their warm support during the trial, echoed Lin’s view in his book.

“I brought a lot of documents with me and prepared a PowerPoint presentation just like I did when I taught at universities to try to explain to legislators why the methodology Sheus employed was better than those offered by its rivals and which is why we picked Sheus,” Shieh wrote in the book. “But [the legislators] just wouldn’t listen to me.”

“It made headlines when we were indicted. But when we were found not guilty, it took some efforts to find the news on the Internet,” said Cheung Lap-loi (鍾立來), another former review committee member.

Shieh recalled his first questioning by a prosecutor’s aide.

“A very arrogant young man — probably in his 20s — came in to question me,” he said. “He threw a bunch of questions at me, but all these questions have already been published in newspapers.”

Lin said many of the indicted committee members are still upset although they have been proven innocent.

“They’ve decided to stay out of public affairs from now on,” Lin said.

“It’s not a good thing for our country if politicians continue to make baseless accusations or for prosecutors to make false indictments without careful investigation,” he said.

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