Ko’s in­quiries in­deed louder in bark than bite

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY CHI- HAO JAMES LO

Fol­low­ing months of an­nounce­ments, as well as the estab­lish­ment of var­i­ous checks and bal­ances com­mit­tees such as the Taipei City’s Clean Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee ( CGC,

), the Ko ad­min­is­tra­tion has fi­nally closed its books on the probes into Taipei’s five ma­jor cor­rup­tion and mal­prac­tice cases.

Though Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je ( ) and his CGC ended up send­ing four cases fur­ther into in­ves­tiga­tive pro­cesses than the cen­tral gov­ern­ment had, his ef­forts have been widely crit­i­cized as hav­ing “more bark than bite.”

Quite hon­estly, this is true, but ex­actly why did the in­ves­ti­ga­tions end on such a weak note?

The more com­plex rea­son for the sit­u­a­tion and Ko’s sub­se­quent protes­ta­tions of de­fense may be grounded in self-de­fense, maybe not so much from the mayor, but most likely from his CGC.

It is safe to say that the con­glom­er­ates into which the mayor had or­dered deeper probes had been play­ing the game of pol­i­tics for quite some time, way longer than the mayor who just be­came a politi­cian on Dec. 25 last year.

Fail­ure to Nab Con­sor­tiums

and KMT Of­fi­cials

Hence, it is safe to say that the con­sor­tiums which the mayor tried to bring down have iron­clad con­tracts that are al­most im­pen­e­tra­ble, even in the face of nves­ti­ga­tion by a new city ad­min­is­tra­tion.

CGC mem­bers who con­ducted the in­ves­ti­ga­tions prob­a­bly felt threat­ened for their per­sonal rep­u­ta­tions af­ter un­cov­er­ing ev­i­dence which could po­ten­tially lead to a law­suit against the CGC mem­ber un­less they were very cer­tain of the ro­bust­ness of the ev­i­dence.

The only ac­tion for such in­di­vid­u­als to adopt would be to trans­fer ev­i­dence higher up into the gov- ern­ment, as brashly ac­cus­ing pow­er­ful con­sor­tiums of al­le­ga­tions might lead to ex­pen­sive counter law­suits for the in­di­vid­ual.

Even Ko him­self seemed to have sensed the po­ten­tial risks of pre­sent­ing the cases to the Taipei Dis­trict Pros­e­cu­tors of­fice.

City Gov­ern­ment Over­es­ti­mates

Its Power

Of course, a sim­pler ex­pla­na­tion as to why the in­ves­ti­ga­tions packed bark rather than bite can be ex­plained as be­ing due to the lack of power the city gov­ern­ment ac­tu­ally has, as well as overex­cite­ment from the Taipei public.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tions were one of the most prom­i­nent pledges of Ko’s may­oral cam­paign, and also the most talked about part of the Ko ad­min­is­tra­tion’s work. Such acts gave the im­pres­sion to res­i­dents that cor­rup­tion ex­isted and was se­vere in the gov­ern­ment.

How­ever, the mayor’s re­cruit­ment of un­der-qual­i­fied in­ves­ti­ga­tors who yielded medi­ocre re­sults

has dam­aged the mayor.

Dra­matic Re­ac­tions Back­fire

Se­condly, the amount of me­dia cov­er­age of the mayor’s dra­matic re­ac­tions to­ward the so-called 1 per­cent has sent Taipei cit­i­zens, if not the en­tire na­tion into a soap­opera drama frenzy, an­tic­i­pat­ing a cli­max that would ul­ti­mately change the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate of the na­tion. Ko’s en­er­getic and some­times overtly fu­ri­ous be­hav­ior when pre­sent­ing his re­port into cor­rup­tion had the na­tion be­liev­ing that the coun­try was about to wit­ness a mod­ern retelling of “David vs. Go­liath,” where a grass­roots mayor elected by the peo­ple was go­ing to lead Taipei into a new era where the peo­ple and not the rich con­trol the gov­ern­ment.

But, in the end, for what­ever rea­son, the city gov­ern­ment de­cided to end the in­ves­ti­ga­tions. And sadly, but per­haps pre­dictably the gen­eral public have been left with the dis­mal im­pres­sion that not a lot of dif­fer­ence has been made.

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