Ex-finance chief debunks 'secret' Taipei Dome deals

Ex-finance chief debunks 'secret' Taipei Dome deals
Taipei Dome

A former chief of the Taipei City Government's Finance Department yesterday fired back at allegations that the administration of then-Mayor Ma Ying-jeou benefited Farglory Construction Co. in the bidding process for the Taipei Dome.

Lee Sush-der, currently chairman of the Taiwan Stock Exchange, said in a statement that he and the city government had conducted themselves in accordance to regulations in the handling of Taipei Dome talks during the tenure of former Mayor Ma, now R.O.C. president.

There are no "secret deals" between the government and Farglory as all terms concerning operational royalties and rent for the Dome as well as the project's safety requirements, and operational regulations are already listed in the open call for bids, Lee said.

He also said he will offer his full co-operation in case of any investigation.

Lee's comments came on the same day as the Taipei City Government published its safety review findings and demanded a major revision of the construction plans to address major hazards.

Even before the much anticipated release of the review report, the press had been alleging Ma and his Taipei City Government had rigged the Taipei Dome bid in Farglory's favour.

Several media outlets last week reported on an audio record of a 2004 meeting of the Taipei Dome bidding committee in which Lee, who headed the committee, apparently suggested that "people high up in the city government" had agreed to drop their demand for operational royalties for the Taipei Dome.

Lee pointed out yesterday Taipei City Government tried to discontinue co-operation with Farglory on the Taipei Dome in 2005 but its decisions were thrice recanted by the central government, then under Democratic Progressive Party control.

The Taipei City Government notified Farglory on Sept. 5, 2005, of its decision to reject the developer's bid, Lee said. Farglory appealed to the Executive Yuan's Public Construction Commission (PCC) on Aug. 23 and Oct. 5 of the same year as well as on March 3, 2006.

The PCC wrote to the Taipei City Government on three occasions recanting city hall's decision.

Farglory would not have secured the bid if not for the PCC's decision; this shows the Ma city hall was clearly not attempting to rig the bid for the developer, Lee said.

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