Fri, Aug 03, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors detain three in construction bribery case

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei prosecutors yesterday detained two city government officials and one contractor over their alleged involvement in a bribery case concerning major road construction projects around the city.

The three detainees are Chen Ming-kuan (陳明寬) and Chang Chun-ting (張浚梃) from the city's New Construction Office and contractor Wang Chi-ming (王啟明).

Prosecutors also interviewed seven other officials and Wang's co-workers, but later released them on bail ranging from NT$50,000 to NT$300,000.

"We discovered that these people have been working together for more than six years. Their `cooperation' has resulted in more than 10 major roads in the city not being built according to standard procedures," said Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村), spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office.

"This means that several major roads, including sections six and seven of Roosevelt Road and Neihu Road, will not last as long as expected," Lin said.

He added that city contracts state asphalt on major roads must be at least 5cm thick. By bribing the officials, contractors only laid between 3cm and 3.5cm, but they were still paid in full.

"Prosecutors have visited these locations and found that the asphalt is not thick enough. That is the reason why potholes appear so quickly, especially after heavy rain," Lin said.

Lin said that prosecutors were still trying to figure out how much money the officials had accepted from the contractors over the years.

"Because of the bribery, countless scooter and motorcycle riders were injured after hitting potholes on these roads. Many motorists have also spent a lot of money fixing their cars because of those potholes. Now they have to pay for what they have done," he said.

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