The appointment of Yang Hsi-an (楊錫安), who resigned over a scandal surrounding construction of the Xinsheng Overpass last year, as Taipei deputy mayor was the latest example that confidantes or family members of pan-blue politicians continually fail to avoid conflicts of interest, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) decision to appoint Yang, a former Taipei City Secretariat director, as his deputy is “shocking,” DPP spokesman Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) told a press conference.
Yang, 61, was not indicted after prosecutors completed their investigation into the scandal despite being listed as a defendant and accused of conspiring with construction companies during the bidding process, leading to allegations of kickbacks and corruption.
Four of Yang’s subordinates were subsequently indicted in the case, in which investigations showed contractors repeatedly overcharged the city government — sometimes by a factor of 30 — for a beautification project.
“Yang was not held accountable. He has even been promoted to deputy mayor in charge of public construction,” Liang said.
Taipei City Government ignored the fact that Yang’s wife works as secretary for the chairman of a construction consulting firm that has won no less than 68 construction bids in Taipei over the past three years, Liang said, adding that this constituted a violation of the Act on Recusal of Public Servants Due to Conflicts of Interest (公職人員利益衝突迴避法).
The act stipulates that companies found to be in violation of the act can be fined between one and three times the amount of the transaction.
Yang’s controversial appointment is not without precedent, as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government officials are “repeat violators of the act,” Liang said.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) elder sister Ma Yi-nan (馬以南) was involved in a case in 1998 in which China Chemical and Pharmaceutical (CCPC), the company in which she worked as a deputy manager, sold pharmaceuticals to Taipei City government.
Ma Ying-jeou was Taipei mayor at the time.
TECO Electric and Machinery and its chairman, Liu Chao-kai (劉兆凱), were fined for bidding for government projects when his brother, Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), was the serving premier between 2008 and 2009.
The DPP does not rule out the possibility of referring the Yang case to the Control Yuan and the Ministry of Justice, Liang said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER