Sat, Jul 17, 2004 - Page 2 News List

For educator, corruption charges bring detention

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei District Court judges yesterday granted a request by prosecutors to detain Sung Wen (宋文), director of the Department of Students' Military Training, on corruption charges.

"The prosecutors' investigation showed that Sung tried to exchange information with other people who are involved in the case, so judges decided to detain him before the investigation is completed," said Huang Jiunn-ming (黃俊明), spokesman of the Taipei District Court.

Sung was accused of soliciting and taking bribes from subordinates. He is head of the country's 4,600 military instructors who are based at high school, university and college campuses, and has the power to promote and demote them.

The scandal surfaced when two military instructors reported to the Bureau of Investigation that Sung had abused his power by demanding NT$10,000 to NT$100,000 in exchange for promotions.

Based on the Statute for Punishment of Corruption (貪污治罪條例), an officer who takes bribes and is convicted of corruption charges will be sentenced to at least seven years in prison and fined up to NT$60 million.

Prosecutors also allege that Sung fabricated rent payments on his apartment in order to claim extra reimbursements from the Ministry of Education.

Sung has lived in his current residence for five years, collecing at least NT$2.1 million in over-reimbursements, prosecutors said.

In addition, prosecutors say that Sung accepted kickbacks from textbook publishers over the course of his nine-year tenure at the ministry.

Huang said, however, that prosecutors have not collected enough evidence to prove the two additional allegations at this point in the investigation. As of press time yesterday, no new charges had been filed against Sung.

"At the moment, prosecutors are summoning witnesses and other people who are involved to test their willingness to testify against Sung," Huang said.

In the meantime, although Sung has not been formally indicted, Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) yesterday demoted Sung to senior inspector of the ministry. Meanwhile, Sung told his family to issue a press release on his behalf saying he was being sacrificed for political reasons.

"Prosecutors decided to detain me even though they do not have sufficient evidence to prove my guilt," Sung's press release said.

"But I believe the judges will prove [prosecutors] wrong during future hearings," the press release said.

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