Stiffer punishment sought for Lai Su-ju after not guilty plea
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
2014-06-24 12:10 PM
Prosecutors pursuing the case against former Taipei City councilor Lai Su-ju for corruption asked for heavier penalties for Lai after she entered a plea of not guilty on the charges. Prosecutor Chen Yu-lun pointed out that Lai has been found guilty of funneling funds through Peng Jian-ming to facilitate the bid of Taipei Gateway International for the Twin Star development next to Taipei Station. Lai reportedly pocketed a fee of NT$1 million after talking down the bribe amount from NT$15 million to NT $10 million

Prosecutors said Lai had claimed that the funds deposited in a special account were political contributions. If that were true, they asked, then why did Lai move after a lapse of nine months to return the money to Peng when the Twin Towers deal began to go sour?

Lai claimed that the prosecutors were out to get her, saying that they had “loosed their arrows first and set up a target later.” She complained that the prosecution had used evidence on a CD recording of Peng Jian-ming’s testimony but had ignored many statements Peng made in her favor.

"Prosecutors are not novelists,” said Lai. “They cannot just listen to recordings and fire up their imaginations to cook up charges." Lai urged the judge to respect the rules of evidence and use the same criteria to decide her case that would apply to the general population, rather than considering her identity and misleading media reports. She added, "I have suffered the greatest of injustices, and people in high and low places are crying. And I cannot gain back what I have lost."

Prosecutors in the case stressed that they do not consider factors such as past politics and the effectiveness of a defendant’s public service, but are there only to present the available evidence on corruption offenses. They said that as a civil servant Lai should strive to live up to the trust of the people, but instead she has adamantly denied committing any crime, thus they recommended a heavier sentence for her crimes.

Peng pled guilty on his roles in the case and has said he hopes that by cooperating with the prosecution he might have his punishment commuted to a fine or probation.

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