Sat, Aug 08, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Hau Lung-bin promises to cooperate with probes

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday promised to cooperate with prosecutors and the Control Yuan’s investigation into three problematic municipal construction projects — the Maokong Gondola, the Neihu-Muzha MRT line and the Xinsheng Overpass.

“We will cooperate fully with the investigations and give detailed explanations about the projects,” Hau said after inspecting a pumping station in Nangang (南港).

The mayor made the remarks after prosecutors and the Control Yuan began a series of investigations into the three projects.

Hau said he and his administration would cooperate with the investigations and denied that the projects were tainted by corruption.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office has launched an investigation into the Maokong Gondola, which was closed indefinitely after a landslide last year.

The Control Yuan is also investigating the project and has talked to Hau and former staffers who worked under then-mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

About a dozen city government officials and two contracted companies are also under investigation for possible dereliction of duty after the opposition parties accused Ma and his municipal team of colluding with contractors to change the route of the gondola line and fabricate geological reports on all 25 towers to speed up the construction so that the project could be completed in time to be counted as a municipal achievement for Ma.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Panel (SIP) has opened an investigation on the problem-plagued Neihu-Muzha MRT line, which has experienced several malfunctions and system breakdowns since going into operation last month.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors reported Ma to the SIP for increasing the MRT line’s budget and overruling a city council decision by insisting on adopting a medium capacity system for the line during his tenure as Taipei mayor.

The Control Yuan is investigating the decision-making process behind the line’s construction.

It also plans to start an investigation into repairs on the Xin­sheng Overpass that began last year. The Taipei City Government on Wednesday admitted using substandard adhesive in the overpass’ ongoing overhaul. The overpass was scheduled to be opened for traffic next month.

Hau yesterday defended the Neihu-Muzha line following a second system breakdown on Friday, and said the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp and the system builder were working together to improve the overly sensitive system to stabilize it as soon as possible.

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