The Supreme Court yesterday denied an appeal by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) and upheld a 2016 Taiwan High Court ruling that found him guilty of corruption.
Gao faces four years and six months in prison, as the second retrial at the Taiwan High Court did not contravene any laws, the court said in the final ruling of the case.
At the second retrial, the court stated that Gao knowingly acted against the law and outside of his position in an attempt to benefit himself.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
It ruled that Gao should serve four years and six months in prison, while Gao’s staffer, Yao Sheng-chih (姚昇志), should serve one year and four months.
Gao’s legislative seat, which represents New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重), would be contested in a by-election.
In 2006, real-estate agents surnamed Lo (羅) and Chen (陳) approached Yao expressing their interest in renting a plot of national land in Taichung’s East District (東區) and asking Gao and Yao to help, the court said.
In February and March of 2007, Gao and Yao mentioned the incident to the director and deputy director of the National Property Administration, and the agency agreed to lease the land to Lo and Chen in April, it said.
Chen allegedly gave NT$2 million (US$64.903 at the current exchange rate) to Yao “as agreed upon.” Yao then took NT$1.5 million for his own purposes before donating the remaining NT$500,000 to Gao’s office via Gao’s other secretary, surnamed Lin (林), under the title “Nantou A De” (南投阿德), the court said.
After he was indicted by the Nantou District Prosecutors’ Office, Yao admitted to contravening the act and became a “tainted witness,” while turning in the NT$1.5 million in bribes, the court said.
Gao denied all involvement, but admitted that his office received political donations from one “Nantou A De,” the prosecutors’ office said.
Gao was handed a sentence of five years and six months and Yao was handed a sentence of two years and four months in the first ruling.
However, the first trial at the second appellate court ruled that both were not guilty as the sale and lease of national land was not under the purview of legislators, and had Gao and Yao received money, it was morally questionable, but not a legal offense.
The first retrial at the second appellate court stated that legislators had actual influence over government body heads as they presided over budget reviews and ruled that Gao should serve seven years and six months in prison.
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