Wed, Dec 16, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Chiayi official found guilty of leaking bid data

Staff writer, with CNA

Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang of the Democratic Progressive Party talks to reporters in Chiayi yesterday.

Photo: Lin Yi-chang, Taipei Times

Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) was yesterday found guilty of leaking confidential information in procurement cases that favored preferred bidders. However, she was found not guilty of taking bribes or abusing her position to benefit herself or others.

The Kaohsiung District Court sentenced the Democratic Progressive Party member to two-and-a-half years in prison — which can be converted to a fine — on 16 charges of leaking information to her younger sister about the county Environmental Protection Bureau’s procurement of services and garbage trucks.

Chang leaked secrets by having her sister, Chang Ying-chi (張瑛姬), appoint members of the selection committee handling reviews of the tenders for the sanitation services and equipment, the ruling said.

Chang Ying-chi, who holds no official position in the county government, then solicited kickbacks from potential bidders, the court said.

Helen Chang was given a sentence of one year and eight months for giving a company information on the selection committee during the tender process for the second phase of the Dapumei Intelligent Industrial Park. This sentence cannot be commuted to a fine.

The court said that there was no evidence or defendants’ statements that the commissioner had abused her position to benefit herself or others, and NT$800,000 (US$24,433) that she took from businessman Cheng Yi-hsiung (鄭義雄) in the Dapumei case, which prosecutors had alleged was a bribe, had been a political donation as she had claimed.

Helen Chang, who first took office in December 2009, questioned the timing of the verdict, coming just one month before the Jan. 16 presidential and legislative elections. The ruling had been delayed twice before.

She said the firm that made the NT$800,000 donation did not take part in the bidding process for the park, so she should not be found guilty of leaking secrets to it.

Chang Ying-chi was sentenced 10 years on 19 charges involving the leak of confidential government information. The sentence cannot be commuted to a fine, and her illegal gains of NT$4.17 million were ordered confiscated.

However, she was found not guilty of taking bribes or of abusing her position.

The sisters, who were indicted in November 2012 along with 21 officials, middlemen and contractors, were accused of contacting companies interested in bidding for government contracts through businessman Yeh Ya-chiang (葉雅強) and Wu Ming-ching (吳銘圳), a former associate professor at the Open University of Kaohsiung who was a member of the committee to review procurement cases.

County official Chiu Feng-ming (邱豐銘), Yeh, Wu and five other defendants were sentenced to terms of four months to six years for leaking government secrets, but found not guilty on other charges.

Cheng was sentenced to six months in prison.

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