Thu, Dec 20, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taipei tower bid fair, mayor says

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said that the bidding process for the Taipei Twin Towers project near Taipei Railway Station had been conducted in a transparent and open fashion, despite sustained accusations about the fairness of the process. Hau added that the Taipei City Government would act in accordance with the law if any illegal activity was uncovered.

The integrity of the bidding process for the towers, which could generate more than NT$170 billion (US$5.8 billion) in profit once completed, has been challenged since a multinational consortium composed of Taipei Gateway International Development, Malaysia’s IGB and Mid Valley City won the contract to develop two high-rise buildings in October.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday said that Chang Shyue-kung (張學孔), a non-paid adviser to the Taipei City Government, had accepted NT$10 million from Kagawa International Investment, a major shareholder of Taipei Gateway International Development, to write a development proposal for the project in 2009.

Chang, a civil engineering professor at National Taiwan University who has served as an advisor to the city since 1994, also advised the corporation about the project and would receive a bonus of as much as NT$80 million if the city government formally signed the contract with the consortium, Next Magazine said.

Hau said the city government reported the allegations to prosecutors and the city’s Government Ethics Department would also look into the project.

“The bidding process for the project is open and transparent, and we will handle any violations of the contract in accordance with the law. The project is a major investment and we welcome the public to examine it using the highest standards,” he said.

Taipei’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems yesterday dismissed the latest accusation and said there was no conflict of interest in the case because Chang was not in the project review committee.

BES Engineering has also questioned the qualifications of the former director of the Bureau of High Speed Rail, Wu Fu-hsiang (吳福祥), as a member of the committee reviewing the selection of the developer, saying that Wu, a former adviser to Kagawa International Investment, helped the multinational consortium secure the contract.

The consortium is expected to break ground for the construction of the two buildings within one year.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and the twin towers will serve as the main hub for the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line to Taipei, as well as for five other railway and MRT lines.

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