Councilors question Taipei mayor about Twin Towers project

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 3

Pan-green Taipei City councilors yesterday slammed the Taipei City Government’s poor handling of the scandal-ridden Taipei Twin Towers project, and urged Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) to apologize for the stalled project as they boycotted his performance report.

Chanting “Mayor Hau apologizes for indulging in illegal activities,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilors said there have been concerns about financial problems of the first-priority bidder, a consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development, and Hau has ignored the concerns and blindly trusted former commissioner of the city’s Department of Finance, Chiu Da-chan (邱大展), who was indicted on charges of leaking information to the consortium and helping it win the bid.

“Mayor Hau listed the project as one of the top 10 construction projects in Taipei, and described the consortium as a dream team. However, we cannot see a future for the project now. The mayor owes an apology to Taipei residents,” Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) said at the Taipei City Council.

The project has been stalled since the first bidder failed to provide a performance bond in February. Besides Chiu, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如) was also indicted in July on corruption charges for allegedly receiving a bribe of NT$1 million (US$33,400) related to the project.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said the city government had apparently been fooled by the consortium and it should nullify the project over the problematic bidding process.

Following a one-hour boycott, Hau delivered his performance report to the council, while defending the project as a major construction that the city aims to complete.

“Prosecutors did not find major flaws in the bidding process for the project and the city government should continue the contract negotiation procedures in accordance with the law. We will overcome the difficulties and complete the project,” Hau said.

Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) Commissioner Tsai Hui-sheng (蔡輝昇) said the department has completed a review of the second-placed bidder, BES Engineering, and will start negotiating a new contract with the company soon.

Pending the negotiations, the city government intends to finalize a list of conditions for the contract and inform the company about the final conditions via formal documents.

The company would then be required to sign the contract within 30 days of receiving the documents, DORTS said.