Sun, Mar 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Scores of officials busted for corruption: MOJ

CRACKDOWN Since 2000, as many as 534 government officials have been prosecuted for a rich mosaic of corrupt activities, including vote-buying and mafia gang connections

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Justice announced yesterday that prosecutors indicted 534 elected officials since it established the Black Gold Investigation Center five years ago to crack down on corruption.

According to the ministry's statistics, prosecutors have prosecuted 534 officials for taking bribes, buying votes, or being involved in mafia gangs, and prosecutors have recovered more than NT$27.1 billion dirty money.

Those prosecuted include 23 legislators, eight city or county commissioners, 15 city or county speakers or vice speakers, 141 city councilors and 347 township heads or councilors, the statistics said.

More than 300 senior government officials and 3,256 civil servants were also indicted for bribery.

The Black Gold Investigation Center was founded in June 2000, the year Democratic Progressive Party took office. The statistics dated from June 2000 to the end of last year.

Justice Minister Morley Shih (施茂林) yesterday said the statistics showed that prosecutors have made progress in cracking down on "black gold" politics, and the ministry pledged to continue to clean up the government.

On Thursday, Tainan County Council Speaker Wu Chien-bao (吳健保) and Councilor Lee Chuan-fu (李全富) -- both members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) -- were accused of illegally removing sand from the Tsengwen River and making more than NT$1 billion by selling it to construction companies.

Prosecutors asked the court to detain Wu on Friday and the court agreed that he should be detained yesterday morning.

Prosecutors have not been able to locate Lee.

In addition, Chunghwa County Council Speaker Pai Hung-shen (白鴻森) was indicted on Friday for misappropriating NT$1.5 million to reward his friends and supporters.

Shih said the former Kaohsiung City Council speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄), who was found guilty of vote-buying in a council speakership election, was a good example of the justice ministry's determination to crack down on corruption.

He said Chu's trial -- in which many other Kaohsiung City councilors and a council vice speaker were convicted for bribery -- had cleaned up Kaohsiung politics.

Shih also pointed to the prosecution of Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) lawmaker Tsai Hao (蔡豪) and his supporters last December for vote-buying or taking election-related kickbacks.

He further said KMT Legislator Ho Chih-hui (何智輝) was prosecuted for accepting kickbacks form construction firms in return for contracts last year.

In addition, 14 Taipei County Councilors were prosecuted last year for jointly accepting bribes from local construction firms, he added.

Shih also said that former Council of Indigenous Peoples Chairman Chen Chien-nien (陳建年) was indicted last month for buying votes for his daughter in last December's legislative election. Seventy-eight of his supporters were also indicted for taking election-related kickbacks. Chen later stepped down from his post.

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