The Taipei Prosecutors’Office has indicted former minister of the interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲), construction contractor Kuo Chuan-ching (郭銓慶) and seven academics for their alleged involvement in irregularities related to the construction of the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall.
The indictment asked that the court be lenient toward Yu and Kuo, but demanded that the seven academics be punished severely.
The indictment charged that the seven — Cheng Tsung-jung (鄭聰榮), Wang Lung-chang (王隆昌), Chiang Cher-ming (江哲銘), Chou Chia-peng (周家鵬), Chen Po-ya (陳博雅), Kuo Yung-chieh (郭永傑) and Wang Cheng-ying (王振英) — who all teach at universities — had “pursued their own interests in lining their own pockets during the screening of the nation’s major procurement projects and had shown no remorse.”
The indictment said that Kuo promised former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) he would pay 2.5 percent of the total contract value as a kickback if he won the tender.
Yu told prosecutors that Wu then asked him to release the names of the seven academics on the project’s screening panel to Kuo, the chairman of Leader Construction Co, so that Kuo could influence the panel and help his chances of winning the tender.
The Ministry of the Interior is required by law not to reveal the names of those on the screening panel.
With the list in hand, Kuo paid between NT$500,000 and NT$1 million to each of the panel members to secure their support, the indictment said.
Ultimately Kuo was named as the priority bidder for the project in January 2004 before winning the contract at a cost of NT$3.59 billion, the indictment said.
Prosecutors asked for leniency for the former interior minister after determining that Kuo’s alleged kickbacks were paid to the former first lady and not to Yu.
Prosecutors also asked for leniency for Kuo, whom the indictment said had confessed to wrongdoing during the investigation and had taken the initiative to provide evidence that shed more light on the case.
The Special Investigation Panel under the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office earlier on Friday indicted former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his wife Wu Shu-jen for illegal gains from embezzling state funds and taking bribes in two other scandals, including taking payoffs from Kuo relating to the Nangang Exhibition Hall project.
Wu, during questioning by prosecutors on Nov. 15, said the money she received from Kuo was a political donation.
The indictment said, however, that the US$2.73 million Kuo paid Wu was not an ordinary political donation.
It said that Kuo had promised to pay 2.5 percent of the total contract value as a kickback and offered NT$6 million in standard political donations on Nov. 19, 2003.