Mayor Cheng to look into controversy over the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Cheng Wen-tsan (�G����) told reporters Friday that preliminary audits have revealed a number of irregularities, including questionable account entries and allocation of funds, in the Taoyuan Aerotropolis development project.

Following a full review by the city government, all findings and materials will be turned over to the Agency Against Corruption (�G�F�p), Cheng said.

Most notably, Cheng said that the role of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corporation, a firm established by the government in 2010, must be changed to preserve the integrity of the development bid.

According to Cheng, the corporation’s function will be limited to conducting marketing and promotional efforts and will be stripped of its leading role in coordinating the aerotropolis project.

The company will no longer be involved in urban planning and land development efforts related to the project and it will operate under the oversight of the Taoyuan city government and city council, the mayor said.

According to Cheng, the probe is not politically motivated, but aimed at uncovering suspected improper use of project funds under the stewardship of the then Taoyuan county government.

��The governance of the new special municipality must start with a clean slate and past mistakes must be addressed with fortitude,�� Cheng said.

Meanwhile, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (���߭�) told reporters at another public engagement Friday that there is no direct link between himself and mounting scrutiny over the aerotropolis.

According to Chu, the project began during former Vice President Annette Lu’s tenure as Taoyuan magistrate between 1997 and 2000.

The progress of the project continued during his term as magistrate between 2001 and 2009, said Chu.

Chu said that by the time the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corporation was established, he had already been out of the magistrate position for five years.

Chu declined to comment on whether Cheng’s probe is politically motivated.

The Taoyuan Aerotropolis Corporation was created in 2010, during Wu Chih-yang’s (�d�Ӵ�) term as Taoyuan magistrate between 2009 and 2014.

During Wu’s time in office, Taoyuan Deputy Magistrate Lee Chao-chih had resigned in June of 2013, amid mounting land speculation allegations.

However, the local government ethics department and prosecutors later cleared Lee of any wrongdoing.