Thu, Aug 17, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Officials out on bail in airport corruption case

NOISE POLLUTION Bail for the director of the Civil Aeronautics Agency was set at NT$1 million in a case involving alleged kickbacks and fake air conditioners

By Rich Chang and Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director Billy Chang (張國政) was released on bail late on Tuesday night after being arrested on suspicion of involvement in a corruption case.

While Chang's bail was set at NT$1 million (US$30,500), CAA Chief Secretary Wang Teh-ho (王德和) and CKS International Airport Director Wei Sheng-chih (魏勝之) were released on NT$500,000 bail each, Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office Spokesman John Chang (張進豐) said.

The airport's deputy director Liu Chuang-sheng (劉創生) was released on NT$200,000 bail, John Chang said.

The CAA has since 1992 followed a policy of compensating households around CKS International Airport for the noise pollution they are exposed to.

The CAA has paid the households between NT$40,000 and NT$160,000 to install noise-proof windows, doors and walls, as well as air conditioning.

However, Taoyuan prosecutors suspect that kickbacks were involved in the payout of compensation. They discovered that while the CAA had decided to help more than 400 households from Chienhwa (建華) Village in Dayuan Township (大園), Taoyuan County, to move to Kueishan Township (龜山) in the county, it nonetheless allowed the village's households to install noise-proof equipment before moving.

Prosecutors suspect that contractors had installed air conditioning units without internal components at those households, taken photographs of the units, and then used the photos to apply for compensation.

Incoming minister of transportation and communications Tsai Duei (蔡堆) said yesterday that the ministry would fully cooperate with prosecutors.

Billy Chang reiterated yesterday that compensation had been based on the regulations stated in the Noice Control Act (噪音管制法), and added that problems crept in when it came to the execution of the policy.

He made the remarks at a farewell party for outgoing minister of transportation and communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) at the ministry in Taipei yesterday afternoon.

Billy Chang said the problem began when Chien Kuo Village No. 9 was about to be relocated.

The administration decided that building partition walls or windows to minimize noise was too cumbersome and wasteful, since the residents would be moving in any case, and decided to give each household air conditioners instead of following the government rules, he said.

However, he denied having authorized anybody to allow contractors to use photographs of fake air conditioners as proof of installation.

The decision was taken at a town meeting of which he had not been informed, Billy Chang said.

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