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Yeh Shih-wen co-workers, projects at CPA probed
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-01 03:41 PM
Chen Li-ling, a former co-worker of Taoyuan County Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen, is under investigation by prosecutors in Taoyuan in connection with a bribery case involving Yeh. Chen is currently out on bail of NT$400,000 as investigators probe the sources of unexplained amounts of funds in various bank accounts under her name. Chen has said she could not explain how she received the funds, and prosecutors are expanding their investigation into Chen’s role in the case.

A retiree familiar with the workings of the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) explains that Chen and her husband were once both workers in Yushan National Park (YSNP). During a period when Yeh Shih-wen was director of YSNP he had Chen transferred to act as his secretary, handling his appointments and other aspects of business. The retiree says that there were rumors Yeh and Chen developed a very close relationship, and Chen and her husband later divorced.

Chen transferred to a position at Yangmingshan National Park and later left government service. Reports say that she was known to personnel in the Construction and Planning Agency while Yeh acted as director of the agency, however, and she apparently continued to have dealings with Yeh. Investigators pursuing the case against Yeh have found that he and Chen apparently had frequent interaction and that funds were transferred into several accounts opened under Chen’s name, leading them to suspect that Chen may have been involved in concealing and laundering funds on behalf of Yeh.

Prosecutors are also looking into two housing projects that were approved for construction while Yeh was director of the Construction and Planning Agency. Hsu Wen-lung, who served as Deputy Director of CPA under Yeh Shih-wen, has reportedly said there was no denying that Yeh played a key role in the selection process for handing out permits. Prosecutors have obtained a copy of the members of the approval committee for the CPA during that period and may call in committee members if needed in their investigation of Yeh’s activities as director of the CPA.

The A7 housing project in Linkou, New Taipei City, was developed by Farglory Construction, Li-Bao Construction, Landmark Development and Huang Hsiang Construction, while a second project, the Fujhou Housing Development, was carried out by the Radium Group.

Hsu explained that the agency followed a careful selection process involving computer-based compilation of a list of scholars, researchers and local government officials to serve as judges in approving construction projects. Hsu said the CPA member on the panel was designated by Yeh while he served as director of the agency, making Yeh a key factor in final decisions on construction permits.

In the A7 housing project, for example, builders were approved in a two-stage selection process which began by eliminating smaller or less powerful construction companies. In a second round, competing contractors submitted bids to the government committee, a step which reportedly involved substantial costs to bidders. Reports say that bids on the two construction projects A7 and Fu-jhou, which are both scheduled for completion sometime next year, were jacked up to 6 or 7 times the market price during this stage of the approval process.

The A7 project is located in Kuei-shan Township in Linkou, Taoyuan County, in a spot close to both Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the Taipei MRT A7 Station now under construction. The development includes 4,238 units on a tract totaling 9.81 hectares.

The Fujhou housing project covers 4,032 units priced at NT$195,000 per ping. The development is located close to the Taipei MRT Fujhou Station and Far Eastern Memorial Hospital Station.

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