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Panel refers president for investigation in Taipei Dome case (update)

Panel refers president for investigation in Taipei Dome case (update)

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) A Taipei committee on Friday decided to refer President Ma Ying-jeou (???) to the Ministry of Justice for alleged violations of the law in the Taipei Dome project when he served as Taipei mayor. Cheng Wen-lung (???), a lawyer who represented former President Chen Shui-bian and a member of the Clean Government Committee, alleged that Ma and Lee Sush-der (???) changed the parameters of the project in ways that unlawfully provided financial benefits to the main contractor Farglory Land Development Co. (??). Lee, who is currently chairman of the Taiwan Stock Exchange, headed Taipei's Department of Finance when the changes to the build-operate-transfer (BOT) project were made. "Before turning the case over to the ministry, the committee welcomes the two to come before the committee and give an explanation," Cheng said. The president said through a spokesman that he "deeply regretted" the committee's decision. He insisted he never gave financial benefits to any business groups and said he was willing to subject his actions to the most rigorous scrutiny. Lee did not comment on the decision, but said in a statement Thursday that he acted in accordance with the law and that he and Ma had never helped the Farglory Group profit from the project. The committee said after a meeting to review its report on the case that Ma did not require the Farglory Group to pay any royalties on the project when signing the contract with the developer, deviating from the norm for BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects. In a secret meeting with Farglory Croup Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (???) on Sept. 20, 2004, Ma and Lee reached an agreement with Chao to cross out the "royalty" part of the agreement, according to the committee. Cheng noted that according to meeting records, the Farglory Group had proposed at least until Aug. 5, 2004 that it was willing to pay the city 0.1 percent of the project's net profits in royalties. But Cheng said that in a videotape of a meeting on Sept. 23, 2004, Lee said explicitly there would be "no royalty." "On this clause, we followed the conclusion reached on Sept. 20 .... because this was a major issue. So after Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung and the mayor met and communicated, there was a consensus," Lee is said to have said on the video. Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (???), who presided over Friday's meeting, said that after a three-hour discussion, all members of the committee reached a decision to refer Ma and Lee to the Ministry of Justice to be investigated. Teng said that after the committee completes administrative procedures, information related to the allegations will be turned over to the Ministry of Justice. The ministry of Justice said it will deal with the information according to the law after receiving it. The Clean Government Committee also said that the process used to screen the Farglory Group violated procedural justice and suggested that the city government study the possibility of terminating the contract. But Teng said that although the city government could terminate the contract with the Farglory Group according to the law, its ongoing negotiations with Farglory will not be suspended. Meanwhile, Chao said he hoped the investigators will start looking into the case as soon as possible so that he can be vindicated.
He vowed to kill himself if he is found to have violated the law, and said he would look for a chance to explain the matter to society. Former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (???) called Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) "shameful" for putting people with strong political affiliations or without any public credibility on the Clean Government Committee to engage in political persecution. Hau said the committee's members should be professional and have social credibility, but several of them have obvious political affiliations and abused confidential government information received through the committee to defame others on television. (By Huang Li-yun, Ku Chuan and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-17 15:57 GMT+08:00