Ko talks graft cases with DPP councilors

By Chi-hao James Lo ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (�_����) yesterday visited Taipei City councilors from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to present a report on five major ongoing corruption scandals. Ko’s presentation centered around the current progress of investigations and the direction of future probes ot the following five construction cases: the MeHas City (���e��) development project, the Songshan Cultural Park (�Q�Ҥ���), the Gate of Taipei construction project (���l�P), the Syntrend Creative Park (�T�мƦ��ͬ�����) and most notably the drama involving local construction consortium Farglory Group (��������) and the development of the Taipei Dome. On the first four cases, the mayor’s report mainly addressed possible corruption connections between officials from the former city government that led to contracts that leave the Taipei City Government at a disadvantage both financially as well as in terms of governance and damage responsibilities. Retaining a non-biased point of view, Ko did not shirk from mentioning the possibility of the city government being responsible for having a substantial amount of influence in either creating or enabling such cases of corruption. In the case of the Syntrend Creative Park, the mayor revealed that the city government has issued a NT$720,000 penalty to the park’s management for arbitrarily switching on LED lights within the premise of the construction site after the city government had already restricted the establishment from doing so as a result of unresolved inquiries.

‘Farglory doesn’t give a (expletive) about you’: Ko During his report, Ko notably invested a lot of effort in presenting the ongoing battle with Farglory to DPP councilors, hoping to garner support from the opposition party. The mayor explained various inconsistencies between the project’s preliminary blueprints and the initial contract with the former Taipei City administration. Ko implored former Taipei Finance Department Chief Lee Sush-der (���z�w) to come forward to explain 10 discrepancies that were discovered following investigations by the current city government. The mayor also presented photo evidence to compare the differences between the Dome’s original construction blueprint with the current construction plan, which revealed that the additional shopping center would not only decrease the amount of emergency exits to the Dome, but would also veil the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall from the scenic beauty it was supposed to have. Elaborating on the disrespectfulness of the construction, Ko went on to talk about a meeting he had recently with former director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) William Stanton, who reportedly told the mayor that no one would build a Dome in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The mayor then said that the thing that infuriates him the most about Farglory is that the consortium ��doesn’t give a f*** about you.�� Ko explained that following multiple official letters to the company demanding an amended plan to improve he safety of the Dome, all the city government received was Farglory’s reiteration of previous documents and only one piece of paper in response. Ko went on to say that he wishes to conduct a public hearing toward the ongoing conflict, and also hopes to establish a protocol of checks and balances much like the one set up to inspect the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement to bring power to city councilors in hopes of decreasing the likelihood of corruption within the city government.