Former minister of the interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) yesterday was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison with no probation for his role in the Nangang Exhibition Hall corruption case.
The Taiwan High Court said in its ruling that Yu had revealed confidential information at the request of then-first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), which put her in a position to receive a huge sum of money.
“Because of his lack of law-abiding ethics in his high-ranking position [at the time], Yu should be severely punished,” the court said.
As the prison term is more than two years, there will be no probation, the court said.
Earlier this month, Wu was sentenced to nine years in prison for accepting bribes from the company that eventually won the bid to build the exhibition hall.
The court said that in July 2003, the Bureau of Foreign Trade commissioned the ministry’s Construction and Planning Agency to handle the construction of the exhibition hall, and a review panel was formed to screen the bids for the project.
However, it was later found that Wu had instructed Yu to reveal the names of the people on the screening panel, which helped Rich Construction Co win the contract to build the exhibition hall in Nangang, the court said.
In their investigation of another corruption case involving the former first family, prosecutors said they found that Rich Construction had paid Wu a bribe of NT$90 million (US$3.1 million).
Six of the defendants in the bribery case were sentenced to prison terms by the High Court, which upheld sentences passed by the district court.
The defendants who were sentenced were Cheng Tsung-jung (鄭聰榮), eight years in prison; Wang Lung-chang (王隆昌), seven years and eight months; Chiang Cher-ming (江哲銘), seven years and two months; and Chen Po-ya (陳博雅), Wang Cheng-ying (王振英) and Kuo Yung-chieh (郭永傑), seven years and six months each. Another defendant, Chou Chia-ping (周家屏), was acquitted because of lack of evidence.
One of Yu’s friends, Hung Chung-hsin (洪重信), was stripped of his civil rights and given a 22-month suspended prison sentence for helping Yu reveal the name list. The operational period for the suspended sentence is four years, which means that he could go to prison if he commits any further violations of the law within that time.
All the defendants in the case have the right to appeal.
In the first trial in November 2009, the district court said it was giving Yu a light sentence in consideration of the fact that he had not accepted any bribes and had cooperated with investigators.
The district court therefore stripped him of civil rights for three years and gave him a two-year suspended prison sentence with an operational period of five years.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang