Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Greater Kaohsiung Deputy Speaker Tsai Chang-ta (蔡昌達) was yesterday indicted by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Division (SID) on suspicion of requesting bribes from a contractor, Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), who previously gave money to former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) in exchange for help with securing business contracts.
The Taipei District Court in April sentenced Lin to seven years and four months in prison for accepting NT$63 million (US$2.13 million) from Chen, the owner of Ti Yung Co (地勇選礦公司), for helping him to lobby China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) over a slag treatment contract.
The SID said that during its investigation into Lin, prosecutors found then-Kaohsiung County councilor Tsai was also involved in the bidding for the contract.
The division said that Tsai had tried to coerce Chen into sharing part of his slag treatment business with another contractor, Yen Wan-cheng (顏萬成).
Since Chen had already given Lin NT$63 million to win the deal, he refused to give up part of the contract, the SID added.
In revenge, Tsai then asked Kaohsiung County’s Environment Protection Bureau to examine whether Chen’s company’s handling of the slag treatment process violated environment protection regulations.
The SID said Tsai also approached China Steel chairman Tsou Juo-chi (鄒若齊) and asked for a slag treatment contract, but was turned down.
The SID said that according to telephone records, Tsai threatened CSC executives, saying: “China Steel Corp did not respect me, did not allow me to sign a [slag treatment] contract. I am upset and I might complain to the Environment Protection Bureau about your company’s pollution.”
The SID added that if Tsai and Yen had won the contract, they would have illegally profited by NT$1.05 billion in five years. Therefore, Tsai and Yen were indicted on corruption charges, the SID said.
Meanwhile, the investigative division added that Chen Chi-hsiang had teamed up with other contractors to push CSC into agreeing to lower slag prices. Then-China Steel general manager Chen Chen-jung (陳振榮) agreed to the request and illegally lowered the price, leading the firm to lose NT$240 million.
The SID said Chen Chen-jung and five CSC officials have been indicted on breach of trust.
Tsai denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not make any money from the affair, and that prosecutors were wrong to confuse his interrogation in the council as criminal behavior.