TAIPEI, Taiwan - Prosecutors raided yesterday the offices and homes of a senior Taipei City Government official and several contractors. They stressed the extensive search operation was aimed at securing certain evidence connected to possible scams related to the revamp of the Xinsheng (New Life) overpass.
The prosecutors said they have no plan to summon anyone for questioning, including Yang Shi-an, secretary general at the city government.
Yang's office and two homes in Taiwan were searched, but prosecutors declined to reveal what they had found.
They described Yang as "a third party" in the ongoing investigation, meaning he was a "witness" or "a person aiding the probe" rather than a plaintiff or defendant.
The city's New Construction Office (NCO) and at least six of the contractors were also included in the latest search operation.
The contractors had participated in previous bids for the project of providing maintenance and improvement services for a northern section of the elevated Xinsheng expressway.
Mayor Hau Lung-bin said he respects the action from the judicial authorities. But he also reaffirmed his call for an independent and thorough investigation into the alleged procurement irregularities so that the guilty ones will face consequences while the innocent ones can have their names cleared.
Su Tseng-chang, a former premier who is challenging Hau in the mayor race in late November, said the prosecutors' latest move implied that the case is rather serious and the city government should seriously face the relevant issues.
Chin Li-fan, a member of the city council from the ruling Kuomintang, said she is considering a move to file charges against prosecutors for allegedly taking actions and creating issues that could affect the outcome of the election late next month.
Some others said the prosecution should take swift actions to complete the investigation into the alleged corruption case to avoid the entanglement of the particular case with the crucial election less than one month away.
Before the new searches, prosecutors won permits from the Taipei District Court on Sept 29 to place Huang Hsi-hsun, a former chief of the NCO under city's Public Works Department, and Li Mei, an employee of Join Engineering Consultants, under custody.
Join Engineering is a contractor that had won certain bids to undertake part of the work related to the elevated expressway.