The independent Clean Government Committee yesterday decided to refer President Ma Ying-jeou to the Ministry of Justice for alleged serious violations of the law in the Taipei Dome project while he served as mayor.
Lee Sush-der, the chairman of the Taiwan Stock Exchange, was also accused of approving changes to project parameters that unlawfully profited the main contractor Farglory Land Development Co. to the tune of NT$116.9 trillion (approximately S$5.05 billion).
The committee's report, which included 36 separate forms of documented evidence, recommended that Ma and Lee be investigated for improper meddling and influence peddling with the selection committee of the project.
'Grave violations': Committee Lawyer
Lawyer Cheng Wen-lung a member of the committee, cited a 2006 Farglory profit earnings report indicating a figure of NT$111.9 trillion, saying that the amount it owed the city in terms of royalties was zero.
He produced voice recordings of Lee from Sept. 23, 2004 indicating that the subject of royalties owed to the city was never brought up after then-Mayor Ma met secretly with Farglory Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung three days earlier.
Cheng added that Farglory Vice Chairman Tsai Chung-i confirmed the existence of the meeting between Ma and Chao during his appearance on a political talk show on April 16 of this year.
According to Cheng, after the Ma-Chao meeting, the city not only put aside the issue of royalties, but also agreed to give up the right of takeover of the Dome and allow Farglory to transfer its rental agreement to a third party.
He added that the violations were ample grounds for the city government to terminate its contract with Farglory.
Committee 'abused authority': Ma's spokesman
Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen later called the committee's report "highly regrettable," adding that it had abused its authority to purposely persecute Ma politically by trumping up charges.
Chen continued by arguing that if top officials of the city government, including Mayor Ko Wen-je had just last week stated that the Taipei Dome case was "legal," what reasons did an organisation outside the government have for recommending an investigation. He found it suspicious that three members of the committee had served in varying capacities to top members of the Democratic Progressive Party.
Committee Reports on Other BOT Cases
In addition to the Taipei Dome case, the committee also recommended penalties be imposed on former Taipei City officials, including former Mayor Hau Lung-bin. In the Syntrend Creative Park project involving Hon Hai Precision, the committee recommended the need to penalize Hau as well as former finance department head Lee.
Furthermore, with the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, it alleged that former Deputy Mayor Lin Chung-yi and former Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs Director Lee Yong-ping had improperly aided the Fubon Group.