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Talk of the day -- Taoyuan magistrate moves for re-election

2014/06/03 18:07

The detention of Taoyuan Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shi-wen, who was removed from his job May 30 over allegations of bribery involving Farglory Land Development Co., has come as a shock to the local political scene, prompting Taoyuan Magistrate Wu Chih- yang to offer an apology for appointing Yeh and to transfer five senior officials in relation to the case.

The transfer of the officials is considered to be an attempt by Wu to shirk responsibility by cutting his connection with the officials and to prevent the case from affecting his re-election campaign for the head of the soon-to-be-upgraded special municipality of Taoyuan later this year, according to political observers.

The following are excerpts from local newspaper reports on the issue:

Apple Daily:

Yeh is suspected of taking a bribe of NT$16 million (US$532,561) from Farglory Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung to help Farglory win a tender to build a 950-unit low-cost housing project in the county's Bade district.

The Taipei District Court ordered Chao to be detained and held incommunicado Monday after the Taiwan High Court the previous day overturned an earlier district court decision to release Chao on NT$5 million bail in an investigation of the allegations.

Wei Chun-hsiung, a senior Farglory executive, was also detained and held incommunicado.

Prosecutors will question five members of an evaluation committee for the project and will expand the investigation into whether Yeh and Farglory are connected with bids for other projects in the county.

After this series of bribery and corruption cases involving local government officials, Wu, as head of the county, cannot shun his responsibility.

Wu has issued an apology during a meeting with other county officials.

During the meeting, the county's Civil Service Ethics Department head, Shen Feng-liang, said there are 143 cases concerning Yeh.

The five senior county government officials Wu decided to transfer include Secretary-General Cheng Ruey-cherng, Urban and Rural Development Bureau Director-General Wu Chi-ming, Land Administration Bureau Director-General Lin Hsueh-chien and Public Works Bureau Director-General Chu Ti-chih.

He has also asked for the Ministry of Justice to replace Civil Service Ethics Department head Shen Feng-liang.

Wu said that when it comes to county officials in the future, he will consider their morals and ethics.

The magistrate also issued an order that county officials should discuss business in the county office instead of meeting with businessmen in private gatherings.

Wu also announced that the affordable housing project Farglory had secured will be scrapped and that the county government will propose a new project with a new bidding process. (June 3, 2014)

United Daily News:

According to anonymous sources, the county government will carry out two rounds of personnel changes in the coming week, including department heads and other senior executives, with more than 15 officials expected to be transferred to other posts.

With the scrapping of the affordable housing project, a new proposed development project will be set up, according to county officials. (June 3, 2014)

(By Evelyn Kao)ENDITEM/J