Thu, Sep 09, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers across party lines jailed over bribes

NAME GAMEThe Taiwan High Court punished eight current or ex-lawmakers for accepting money variously described as political donations, ‘sponsor funds’ or bribes

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A total of eight former and incumbent lawmakers across party lines were found guilty by the Taiwan High Court in a second trial yesterday for accepting bribes from the National Chinese Herbal Apothecary Association in 1998, and all were given sentences of at least seven years.

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) were sentenced to seven years and six months in prison.

Their civil rights were also suspended for four years and they must each return the NT$1 million (US$30,000) they respectively took from the association.

Former DPP legislator Chiu Chui-chen (邱垂貞) received a 10-year sentence, his civil rights were suspended for eight years and he must return NT$10 million, said the verdict, which also sentenced former KMT legislator Liao Fu-peng (廖福本) to eight years and six months in prison, suspended his civil rights for six years and required him to return NT$6 million in bribes.

CIVIL RIGHTS

Former DPP legislators Jao Yung-ching (趙永清) and Lin Kuang-hua (林光華) both received eight-year sentences and civil rights suspensions of five years.

They must return NT$2 million each.

Former People First Party legislator Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國) was sentenced to seven years and two months in prison, with a suspension of civil rights for three years, and must return a NT$450,000 bribe.

Former KMT legislator Cheng Horng-chi (陳鴻基) was sentenced to seven years in prison, was deprived of his civil rights for three years and must return NT$300,000 in bribes.

In the first trial, only Chiu and Liao were found guilty of accepting bribes.

The eight can appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Yesterday’s ruling said the lawmakers and former lawmakers all accepted bribes from the National Chinese Herbal Apothecary Association in 1996 in return for their endorsement of an amendment to Article 103 of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法) that would restore the right of herbalists to issue medical prescriptions.

The association paid a total of NT$40 million to the lawmakers under the guise of “sponsor funds,” the ruling said.

The amendment was passed in May 1998.

The ruling said the court identified the “sponsor funds” as bribes and convicted the eight of accepting them.

UNACCEPTABLE

Chiu, who received the heaviest sentence, yesterday said that he found the ruling unacceptable.

The money was a political donation, not a bribe, he said.

Noting a recent spate of corruption scandals involving judges, Chiu said he suspected the court had handed out heavy sentences in an attempt to restore some of the authority of the judiciary.

“Are judges crazy?” he said, adding that he would definitely appeal the case.

Jao, Lin and Hsu also protested their innocence, while Lee, Feng and Chen were unavailable for comment. Liao is currently serving time for a separate forgery case.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

This story has been viewed 3172 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top