Fri, Feb 02, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Embezzlement suspicions plaguing former principal

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Taiwan High Court prosecutors yesterday summoned for questioning the former principal of the private Jin Wen Institute of Technology (景文技術學院) and his wife in the course of their investigation into alleged misappropriation of money belonging to the institute.

A financial crisis at the Jin Wen Group (景文集團) came to light last July when checks with a face value of tens of millions of NT dollars in the name of school chairman Chang Wan-li (張萬利) bounced. Chang was also the president of the ROC Sports Federation (全國體育總會). Chang, who was overseas at the time of the revelation, has stayed abroad.

The prosecutors said yesterday that they suspect Chang had stolen money from the institute by having his construction companies contract for the institute's construction projects at inflated prices.

They alleged that, in doing so, Chang misappropriated some NT$200 million in students' school fees and Ministry of Education subsidies.

Taiwan High Court and Taipei District Court prosecutors yesterday questioned Chang's son-in-law, Lin Tsung-sung (林宗嵩) -- also a former principal of the school -- and daughter, Lin's wife, Chang Hsiu-ying (張秀瑛).

Prosecutors and Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau investigators yesterday morning went to the technology institute to gather material which they think may be relevant to the case.

Chang is also reported to have borrowed money from institute staff amounting to hundreds of millions of NT dollars. He is reported to have experienced major financial difficulties because of an investment failure in Vietnam.

Chang's Jin Wen group operates a diverse array of businesses, including construction companies, industrial enterprises, schools and investment firms.

The prosecutors said they might issue an order for Chang's arrest if he does not come back to Taiwan to face investigation. They also banned several people suspected of involvement in the case from leaving the country.

Meanwhile, the Central News Agency reported yesterday that the Taipei City Bureau of Education might take over the board of the Jin Wen Institute of Technology.

The education bureau said it had in an audit of the school's properties late last year found tens of thousands of NT dollars belonging to the school missing.

CNA also cited the education bureau as saying that the institute had not carried out a valid re-election of board members after Chang's resignation, because the board meeting at which it was held did not constitute a quorum.

The education bureau said it would hold a meeting in a week's time to decide whether to take over the institute.

CNA said, however, that one board member had said the board re-election was valid and that the education bureau should not take over the board.

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