The Agency Against Corruption yesterday launched an investigation into a public procurement scandal relating to Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
The agency said in a press statement that Taipower held a public bid for procuring some parts for construction of the plant in Gongliao District (萬里), New Taipei City (新北市), in 2007 with a budget of about NT$445 million (now US$1.5 million).
It said a probe into the bidding process had uncovered possible violations of the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) and that Taipower was suspected of helping contractors profit from the bid.
Local media said materials provided by two firms who won the tender were found to have limited or no protection against radiation, a defect that contravened the requirements of the contract.
According to Taipower regulations, Nuclear Power Department deputy director Lin Chun-lung (林俊隆), who led a supervisory team at the plant that year, was supposed to hold a meeting to arbitrate whether the materials met company requirements. Media reports alleged Lin had irregular connections with the two companies and allegedly directed the supervisory team to allow the materials from the two firms to pass inspection.
Three prosecutors led more than 40 agents in raids of five locations, including Taipower headquarters, plant offices and contractors’ offices, the agency said.
Lin and four other officials were summoned for questioning, which was ongoing as of press time, the agency said.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Solidarity Union’s Greater Tainan branch held a protest against the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) yesterday in front of the SID office in Taipei, demanding that it quickly investigate what it claims are scandals involving Taipower and CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油).
Branch director Chen Chang-hua (陳昌輝) said prosecutors should investigate former premier and vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥), former Taipower chairman Edward Chen (陳貴明) and others.
Chen led protesters in chanting “SID, wake up! SID, wake up!” and handed over a letter of complaint to the SID.
Taipower spent as much as NT$140 billion a year buying electricity from private power plants, more than NT$32.4 billion in human resources and NT$3 billion to fund communities close to its plants, Chen Chang-hua said.
Chen said such spending was unreasonably high and that corruption was likely involved.
State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) said the SID had collected information on the matter and could launch investigations if there was evidence of illegal activity.
Additional reporting by CNA
This story has been updated since first published.