Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taipei officials questioned in bribery case

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如) and Taipei City Finance Department Commissioner Chiu Da-chan (邱大展) were summoned yesterday for questioning in a scandal involving the bidding process of the Taipei Twin Towers project.

Investigators said Lai was suspected of receiving bribes from the developer, while Chiu was suspected of leaking information to the developer.

The developer, a multinational consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development, lost its bid for the NT$70 billion (US$2.4 billion) project after it failed to provide a NT$1.89 billion performance bond by Feb. 21.

Taipei prosecutors led about 100 agents from the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau to conduct raids on Lai and Chiu’s offices and residences, Taipei City Government offices and the offices and homes of consortium officials. Investigators seized a number of documents from the locations.

Lai, Chiu and consortium chairman Michael Ho (何岳儒) were also summoned for questioning. Lai, Chiu and others were still being questioned by investigators at the bureau’s Taipei branch as of press time.

Investigators said Lai was suspected of taking bribes from the consortium and had even lobbied for it in Taipei City Council meetings.

As a former KMT spokeswoman, Lai is seen as being close to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and other top government officials. Her involvement in the case could deal another blow to the party in the wake of former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih’s (林益世) indictment for corruption as Lin was also in Ma’s inner cirle.

Investigators said they are suspicious about a trip that Chiu made to Japan three days before the consortium won the bid in October last year.

Taipei City councilors have accused Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), a KMT heavyweight, of covering up for the developer, but Hau has defended the bidding process, saying that it was condcuted according to the highest standards and followed legal procedures.

The Taipei mayor has said that the committee tasked with reviewing the bid, which was composed of 17 experts from the city government and related industry fields, evaluated the bidders profesionally and without bias.

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