Tue, Sep 01, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Ex-commissioner jailed for 30 years in corruption case

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Former Nantou County commissioner Lee Chao-ching, pictured in Nantou County in this undated file photo. Lee was found guilty of corruption charges and given a 30-year sentence by the Nantou District Court yesterday.

Photo: Chen Feng-li, Taipei Times

Former Nantou County commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 30 years in prison by the Nantou District Court yesterday.

The court also found Lee’s brother-in-law, Chien Jui-chi (簡瑞祺), guilty of distributing illicit funds and sentenced him to 22 years in prison.

The ruling, which concluded a more than two-year-long judicial probe, saw Lee and Chien convicted of graft, receiving kickbacks and bid-rigging from 2008 to 2012, when Lee was head of the Nantou County Government.

There were also guilty verdicts for 13 other county government officials and business associates involved in the corruption scandal, who were given terms ranging from three months to six years, some with suspended sentences, for benefiting from illicit funds.

Yesterday’s court decision was the first ruling and can be appealed.

Lee’s lawyer said he was surprised by the court’s verdict and heavy sentencing, adding that he would file an appeal.

According to the ruling, Lee was found to have received at least NT$31.73 million (US$967,083) from contractors and business companies in bribes and kickbacks related to 111 projects, involving road construction, bridge repair and county government-initiated public infrastructure construction and upgrade works throughout Nantou County.

The ruling said that the county’s mountainous regions suffered major damage to roads and bridges after landslides and flooding during storms and periods of heavy rain, adding that Lee, as head of the county government, did not apply for repair and construction projects, but instead siphoned off money and made illegal gains from such projects.

The court said it handed out heavy punishments because Lee did not admit his involvement, instructing other defendants to make denials and fabricate information.

At the time of indictment in 2013, prosecutors said Lee was suspected of receiving kickbacks of between 10 percent and 15 percent from almost every county government project since assuming office in 2008.

The judicial probe found other county government officials colluded with Lee and Chien by forging documents and initiating bid-rigging practices for designated contractors to secure tender bids, while also receiving bribes and kickbacks.

Among the officials were Lee’s former secretary Chang Chih-yi (張志誼) and two former Nantou County Department of Public Works heads, Tseng Jen-lung (曾仁隆) and Huang Jung-te (黃榮德).

Tseng was given a six-year sentence, while Chang and Huang received suspended sentences, as both admitted their roles in the corruption scandal and co-operated with prosecutors during the judicial probe.

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