Fri, Sep 09, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Former minister ordered to pay KMT legislator

DAMAGES:Ex-minister of defense Michael Tsai and three others also have to write an apology, to be published in the nation’s four leading newspapers

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter

The Taipei District Court on Wednesday ordered former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) and three other people to pay Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) NT$1 million (US$34,000) and post an apology in the nation’s main newspapers for alleging that Tsai Chi-lung had interfered with the military’s production of a 40mm grenade-launching armored personnel carrier without providing evidence.

Michael Tsai, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) and Hsieh Ming-yuan (謝明源), and former general manager of state-funded Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) Lo Cheng-fang (羅正方) were ordered to compensate Tsai Chin-lung and publish an apology in the top four newspapers.

The four can appeal the decision with the Taiwan High Court.

At a press conference in which all four participated on Nov. 27, 2007, Ho said AIDC had won a bid to manufacture the vehicles.

Ho alleged at the time that SYM Taiwan, which lost the bid, asked Tsai Chin-lung to intervene in the deal by asking the ministry to temporarily suspend production of the vehicles.

Ho urged the Ministry of National Defense not to abide by this “ridiculous” request to temporarily suspend production of the vehicles.

Lo said the company had won the bid “fair and square” and the ministry should resume the contract or any further delays would infringe on the rights of the firm’s employees.

Michael Tsai expressed his support for those remarks during the press conference, prompting Tsai Chin-lung to file a defamation lawsuit against the four.

Tsai Chih-lung told the court that as a legislator, he carried out his duty and joined a review of a prototype of 40mm grenade-launching armored personnel carrier produced by AIDC and found the vehicle did not match the standards required in the bid, so he asked the military to suspend production of the vehicles.

Tsai Chin-lung said he had only inspected a public matter and he had no relations with other contractors.

Michael Tsai and the other defendants told the court the matter concerned public interest and they had enough reason to question why Tsai Chin-lung had interfered with the process.

The district court ruled the four defendants failed to offer evidence to prove that their accusations were based on fact.

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