Fri, Jul 29, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Questions raised over Hau’s deputy mayor appointment

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Former Taipei City Secretariat director Yang Hsi-an (楊錫安), who was removed from his post over the Xinsheng Overpass construction scandal last year, will take over as Taipei deputy mayor, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) announced yesterday.

Hau also said that Department of Economic Development commissioner Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文) would serve as another deputy mayor.

Yang and Chen will take up their new posts following the resignation of Taipei Deputy Mayor Allen Chiu (邱文祥), who is set to be appointed National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine president. The vacancies were created after Taipei City Council approved the Taipei City Government’s proposal to increase the number of deputy mayors from two to three last month.

In announcing the appointments, Hau lauded Chen for his work organizing the Taipei International Flora Expo and successfully promoting local business.

He also defended his appointment of Yang amid concerns about the former secretariat director’s alleged involvement in a scandal, praising his former top aide for his deep understanding of civil affairs and ability to draw up plans for urban development.

“Yang has demonstrated great ability in handling civil affairs ... The prosecutors have also proven his innocence in the scandal,” he said.

Yang, 61, said he was informed about the appointment yesterday morning and would “spare no effort” to fulfill his duties in the new post, but declined to comment on any scandal.

Hau removed Yang and demoted him to the position of technical superintendent in October last year after prosecutors listed him as a defendant in a case that included accusations of conspiring with construction companies during the bidding process. However, when prosecutors completed their investigation into the scandal in February, Yang was not indicted

Hau gave Yang his full support after the scandal broke last year, and even criticized prosecutors for discussing the overpass investigation in public. He further promised to resign if he was found to have been involved in misdeeds relating to the Xinsheng Overpass reconstruction project as he sought to defend city officials and prevent the scandal from affecting his re-election bid in November last year.

Hau yesterday shrugged off concerns about Yang’s alleged involvement in the scandal, insisting “Yang is innocent” when asked by reporters to comment on whether the incoming deputy mayor should retain administrative responsibilities relating to the scandal as the official formerly in charge of the construction project.

Three former officials, including former director of the city’s New Construction Department Huang Hsi-hsun (黃錫薰), former section chief of the department’s Public Works Bureau Chen Chih-sheng (陳智盛) and former chief engineer Chang Li-yen (章立言) were indicted on charges of abusing their power in handling the bidding process for the project in April 2008, to please their supervisors and increase their chances of promotion.

Yang and Chen will assume their new positions on Tuesday.

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