Tue, Dec 20, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Task force to probe Navy's plan to buy missile boats

CNA , TAIPEI

The legislature's National Defense Committee decided yesterday to form a seven-member investigative task force aimed at clarifying doubts on the Navy's "Kuang-hua Six" plan to purchase a fleet of fast-attack missile boats.

A prototype of the boat has already been built and test firings with surface-to-surface Hsiungfeng II missiles have been carried out. The members of the task force are to be chosen according to each party's proportional representation in the legislature.

The committee suspects the Ministry of National Defense's (MND) tender procedure was defective and pledged to shed light on it. A meeting will be held on Monday to determine their agenda.

The task force will have the right to access official documents related to the "Kuang-hua Six" procurement plan. If needed, it will also be able to interview persons involved. It will be led by a convener who will also be its spokesman.

It has been reported that the purchase plan might be delayed because a private shipyard, Jong Shyn Shipbuilding, based in Kaohsiung City, contested the result of the tender won by the state-run China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC).

At first, Jong Shyn's plea was not accepted. But it then appealed to the Public Construction Commission, claiming that the decision to award the contract to the CSBC was defective.

Following the appeal, the MND assigned the case to the Bureau of Investigation in October and asked the CSBC to suspend the contract last month.

The MND's procurement authorities judged the CSBC as having the best tender following discussions in the middle of last month.

The vessels to be built under the "Kuang-hua Six" plan are 135-tonne fast-attack missile boats that will carry four Hsiungfeng II surface-to-surface missiles.

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