Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday accused the operator of Taipei Zhongzheng Sports Center of defrauding the city treasury and urged the city government to conduct an investigation.
The city councilors questioned the operations of Far East Steel Safe Manufacturing Co, the contractor, and its director Chen Kuang-lu (陳光陸) after some sports center users found that the payee written on their receipts was the “Taipei Youth Recreation Center” — and not Zhongzheng Sports Center.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Tsai Kun-lung (蔡坤龍) said that Chen was also the CEO of the youth center and his actions violated the operating contract, which states that the contractor should not sublease municipal property to a third party or submit false financial records.
“I suspect that Chen transferred the money to the youth center and made the sports center look like it was making a loss, so that he could pay less premiums to the city government next year because of the losses,” Tsai said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at Taipei City Council.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Wen-ying (李文英) condemned the Taipei Sports Office for failing to look into the case after they informed the office about the irregularities.
Taipei Sports Office director Fang Cheng-kun (房振昆) said the office had entrusted accountants to check the accounts, and the investigation would be completed within two months.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) acknowledged that the contractor’s actions did violate the contract, and that the city government would consider ending the contract if the accusations proved true.
Taipei Zhongzheng Sports Center is one of 12 municipal sports centers the city government established at a cost of about NT$7 billion (US$210 million) under former mayor Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to promote sports and public health.
The city government spent tens of millions of dollars in public funds on constructing the sports centers and turned management over to private organizations.