Controversies surrounding Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corp (TAPM) general manager Wu Yin-ning (吳音寧) continued, as Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday questioned the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) ability to control the company.
Wu became TAPM general manager in June last year after she was referred by COA Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲), and has since early this year been facing questioning from Taipei city councilors regarding vegetable prices and his integrity.
Ko has repeatedly said that he did not appoint Wu and that the city government has limited control over the company, so it is unfair for it to be blamed for the company’s management.
The Taipei Market Administration Office on Friday last week fined TAPM NT$1.15 million (US$37,592) for failing to give city councilors requested information in a timely manner, but the company refused to pay the fine, saying that it was legally baseless.
Ko on Wednesday confirmed that the municipality earlier this month proposed that the COA sell its 22.76 percent stake in TAPM to it so that it could better control the company.
However, Chen on Thursday said that the firm’s shareholding structure has remained the same since it was established, so the council would not sell its share.
The municipality should consider selling its share to the council, Chen added.
He also said that the city government’s plan to spend NT$20 billion on a wholesale market renovation project should be reviewed to determine whether it would substantially contribute to the company’s policy objectives.
Furthermore, the project could take up to seven years, causing business volume to fall by one-third over the period, he added.
“He cannot even control Wu Yin-ning, I wonder if his ability is also...” Ko said yesterday in response to Chen’s comments, abruptly ending his sentence halfway and shaking his head.
“If the council wants to purchase the city government’s share, does it mean that it also intends to buy all the shares controlled by farmers’ associations nationwide?” Ko asked.
Chen should publish a plan to restructure the company if he is dissatisfied with the municipality’s plans, Ko said.
Although city councilors sometimes ask tough questions, she still has to respond, so whether Wu likes it or not, she should have the ability to face them, Ko added.
Separately yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) on Facebook said that Ko’s claim that he cannot make Wu report to the city council is absurd and vowed to remove Wu from her post if elected in November.
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