Thu, Aug 08, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Taipei finance head steps down after being bailed

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday confirmed that Chiu Da-chan (邱大展) had resigned as commissioner of the city’s Department of Finance on Tuesday night after he was released on bail over his alleged involvement in irregularities with the Taipei Twin Towers project.

Hau reiterated that the city has no plans to cancel the project despite the bribery scandal.

Chiu, a member of the project’s review committee, was released on NT$1 million (US$30,000) bail at midnight. Prosecutors have accused him of leaking information to Taipei Gateway International Development, helping it win the bid for the project in October last year, and of engaging in fraud.

Hau, who has repeatedly vouched for Chiu’s innocence since the bribery allegations surfaced in February, yesterday defended Chiu as a capable official who took a proactive approach to promoting development. The mayor said his administration will cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

“Commissioner Chiu offered his resignation many times because he did not want [the scandal] to affect the finance department’s affairs. He also wants to focus on proving his innocence,” Hau said while attending an exhibition at the National Palace Museum.

The construction project has been stalled since a multinational consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development failed to provide a NT$1.89 billion performance bond in February.

Hau said the city was still negotiating a new contract with the second-place bidder, BES Engineering Corp, amid concern that the project could be canceled or a new bidding process launched.

“[Whether it will be canceled] will depend on the final results of the investigation,” Hau said.

Investigations into the bidding process began after Taipei Gateway International Development failed to come up with the bond.

Chiu’s job will be temporarily filled by deputy commissioner Chen Ying-rong (陳盈蓉), the city government said.

Prosecutors have also detained Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如) on suspicion of accepting bribes from the developer, and consortium chairman Michael Ho (何岳儒) on suspicion of bribing Lai and others to win the bid.

Investigators said Chiu had frequent contact with the company’s spokesman, Wang You-jen (王佑仁), and had met him at the commissioner’s office. They were also suspicious about a trip that Chiu made to Japan three days before the consortium won the bid with a NT$70 billion offer.

The project, initiated in 2004 when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was mayor, had seen four previous bidding processes fail.

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