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May 27, 2017

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No NT$20 bil. gain from Linkou: CPA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) Director-General Ding Yuh-chyurn (丁育群) yesterday denied speculation that a construction consortium tied to the Linkou affordable housing project will receive more than NT$20 billion from the project, saying that he does not know how the speculator calculated that sum of money.

Following a bribery scandal involving an affordable housing project in Bade District (八德區) of Taoyuan County (桃園縣), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) argued that another affordable housing project in Linkou District (林口區) of New Taipei City is also questionable.

Tuan said that the government expropriated the lands in Linkou over a decade ago by paying NT$40,000 per ping (3.3 square meters) to farmers, and the construction consortium only spent a total of less than NT$7.7 billion to buy the lands from the government.

Tuan claimed that the construction consortium spent around NT$7.69 billion on their bid for the Linkou housing project and spent an estimated NT$10 billion on building over 4,000 apartments in the housing complexes, noting that, however, the construction company could earn at least NT$20 billion after selling the apartments and parking lots of the Linkou project.

The lawmaker went on to criticize the construction company for making a huge sum of money on the project, stating that the government gets to share in the profits by selling the lands to the company while farmers, on the other hand, lost out.

Ding yesterday responded to Tuan's speculation, saying that the speculation is a "one-sided" claim. "I cannot say that what he (Tuan) said is right or wrong, but we will have an internal examination of this case," he said.

Ding said that, however, the cost of developing the Linkou affordable housing project should also include expenditures for public construction and the "administration fees on various item applications."

Given that former Taoyuan Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) — who previously served as CPA director-general — is allegedly involved in a bribery case over the Taoyuan affordable housing project, Ding said that his agency is currently investigating two other housing projects that were promoted by Yeh.

CPA to Propose Name List to MOI

A source in the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) yesterday was quoted by the Central News Agency as saying that its Department of Civil Service Ethics (DCSE) today will compile a list naming CPA officials who have questionable reputations and records and they will send it to the MOI minister as a reference document for personnel adjustment.

The MOI official said the DCSE has always had intelligence information regarding MOI and CPA officials, noting that the DCSE released the list of four to five CPA officials and reported to Ding on May 29, a day before the Taoyuan affordable housing scandal broke.

The MOI official said the DCSE created the list based on observations of CPA officials over a long period of time, noting that, however, it does not mean the CPA officials are involved in any bribery. The list is just a "precaution," the source added.

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