Supreme court upholds
By Rich Chang / Staff reporter, with CNA
The Supreme Court upheld an eight-year prison sentence against former minister
of transportation and communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) on corruption charges in
a final ruling on Thursday.
The court also stripped Kuo of her civil rights for four years in a ruling that
upheld a conviction by the Taiwan High Court in March.
Kuo was convicted of bribery related to using her position as transportation
minister to grant favors in 2006 to the Nan Ren Hu Group, a service industry
Within one month of accepting a bribe from Nan Ren Hu chairman Lee Ching-po
(李清波), Kuo asked the Taiwan Railways Administration to hear a second
presentation on a tender for a renovation and shop rental project, according to
the court verdict.
In 2007, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Kuo on corruption
charges, saying she had accepted a cash bribe of US$20,000, which was delivered
to her in a tea gift box, in exchange for helping the Nan Ren Hu group secure a
contract on the railway station project.
In court trials in 2009 and 2010, she was acquitted of the charges on the
grounds that although she had pocketed the money from Nan Ren Hu, she had not
given any concrete directives on the tender or attempted to influence the
bidding process. The Nan Ren Hu group did not take part in the bidding in the
end, the lower courts ruled.
However, prosecutors appealed the decisions and obtained a High Court conviction
earlier this year.
Kuo’s case followed a similar ruling against another former government official.
Kuo’s lawyer, Wellington Koo (顧立雄), said yesterday that Kuo was very frustrated
upon learning of the ruling.
Since “inconsistent testimony” made by Lee Tsung-hsien (李宗賢), son of Nan Ren Hu
Group chairman Lee Ching-po (李清波), became a key piece of evidence to convict Kuo,
she might file a lawsuit accusing the younger Lee of perjury, Koo added.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the party believed Kuo
was not guilty and said the judiciary had a history of repressing the DPP
administration’s former government officials.
In response, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesman Yang Wei-chun (楊偉中) asked
the DPP not to “bully” the judiciary.
On Nov. 28, the Supreme Court also upheld a prison sentence of 12 years and six
months against former vice minister of the interior Yen Wan-ching (顏萬進), who was
convicted of corruption.