High Court upholds prison term for Taisugar's Wu Nai-jen over land deal
By Enru Lin, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan High Court rejected an appeal by former Taisugar Chairman Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁), upholding his three-year, 10-month prison sentence for an illegal land deal worth NT$200 million.
March 14, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Wu, who was Taisugar chairman in 2003 and a one-time secretary-general for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was charged last month by the Taichung District Court with authorizing a state-owned land sale at below-market price.
The High Court upheld his guilty ruling yesterday, along with that of former DPP Legislator Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌).
According the court decision, Hong had pushed for a Taisugar land sale that favored his long-time political contributor, land development firm Chun Lung Co. (春龍開發公司).
At Hong's request, Wu authorized the illegal sale of Taisugar land at a NT$200 million loss to the company.
According to the upheld ruling, Wu and Hong are sentenced to three years and 10 months, and 2 years and 4 months behind bars under the Criminal Code, respectively.
'Miscarriage of justice'
Immediately following the High Court ruling, Hong and Wu stressed their innocence in a formal statement distributed by the DPP headquarters in Taipei.
Hong called the decision a “miscarriage of justice,” while Wu said he suspected corruption. The opinions of the justices had reversed suddenly during the trial, suggesting unseen political intervention, according to Wu.
“Throughout the process of auctioning and price authorization for the land, decisions were made after negotiation among Taisugar personnel at all levels, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. All decisions were reported to and approved unanimously by the board of directors,” said Wu.
“The auction for the disputed land opened Aug. 24, 2004, but I resigned as Taisugar chairman in Dec. 2003. That is to say, on opening day, I had already left Taisugar for over eight months,” said Wu.
At the DPP headquarters, Chairman Su Tseng-chang defended Wu's innocence.
“I have known Wu for over 10 years and I know very well what kind of man he is,” said Su after presiding at a Central Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.
After Wu left office, Taisugar had continued to evaluate the land tender and had resolved to maintain the low price tag. By pointing the finger at Wu, Taiwan's judiciary system sends an ominous message, according to Su.
“If that's how it's going to be, who would dare to lead a company? Who would dare to get anything done? It's truly unfortunate,” he said.