Mon, Jun 20, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Taipei sports chief resigns over arrears

TAKING THE BLAME:Hung Chia-wen had told Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je that he would quit after an investigation, regardless of whether it found him personally responsible

By Liang Pei-chi and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taipei Department of Sports Commissioner Hung Chia-wen (洪嘉文) yesterday confirmed that he verbally tendered his resignation to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) last week over a recent case involving parking lots, in which a department contractor reportedly owes the city government NT$29 million (US$895,476) in premiums.

Hung’s resignation is likely to complicate the city government’s preparations for next year’s Summer Universiade, an international athletic event that is widely perceived to be a public test of Ko’s competence.

The city government is scheduled to decide today on whether to approve Hung’s resignation.

In a news conference on May 30, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Chung Hsiao-ping (鍾小平) said Chunsheng Development and Industry Co (群晟開發實業), which operates the department’s parking lots near the Taipei Gymnasium and Taipei Municipal Gymnasium, had not paid its monthly NT$3 million premiums since January last year.

Despite a total of NT$29 million in arrears, Chunsheng was again awarded city contracts in January this year, Chung said.

Department of Sports Deputy Commissioner Chen Liang-hui (陳良輝) later acknowledged and apologized for the oversight, while the city government said Chunsheng’s contract was terminated in March.

Ko, reportedly angered by the revelation, which he viewed as the first major incidence of misconduct in his government, responded by firing Chen on June 8 and established a task force headed by Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) to investigate and discipline officials responsible for the matter.

According to sources, Hung told Ko that he would resign after the task force completed its investigation to take responsibility for failing to effectively supervise the contracts, regardless of whether the final report found him personally responsible.

Eleven officials — including the department’s chief secretary, a division director, a former division director and the project’s handler — were issued demerits and reprimands as a result of the task force’s investigation.

Former department commissioner Yang Jong-her (楊忠和), Hung’s predecessor and the first sports commissioner appointed by Ko, quit in January last year after just 26 days in office, saying without elaboration that he had completed his “interim tasks.”

Ko chose Hung, who held office for about a year-and-a-half, as Yang’s replacement through the i-Voting platform — an online election system developed by the city government. At the time, Hung was working for the New Taipei City Government.

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