Tue, Jul 01, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Interior ministry probes NIA officials over embezzlement

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Minister of the Interior Liao Liao-yi (廖了以) said yesterday that he had asked the ministry’s ethics office to refer an embezzlement case allegedly involving dozens of National Immigration Agency (NIA) officials to the Taipei Public Prosecutors Office for investigation.

Liao made the remark while answering questions from reporters about a newspaper report that said the immigration agency had failed to return a surplus of NT$3.07 million (US$101,000) from an airport computer project to the treasury.

COMPUTER PROJECT

The NIA won a NT$35.38 million project from the National Security Bureau to set up computer systems at five airports — Taipei Songshan Airport, Hsiaokang Airport in Kaohsiung, Shangyi Airport on Kinmen and two airports in Matsu — and link the news systems with the database at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

The computer upgrade was part of government preparations for boosting the number of Chinese tourists.

The upgraded system was also intended to help prevent convicted criminals from fleeing the nation.

REWARD SCHEME

A report in yesterday’s Chinese-language China Times said the immigration agency had failed to return the leftover money as required by law when the project was completed at the end of 2006, and used the funds to reward 44 officials, some of whom were apparently not involved in the computer project.

The report said former agency director Wu Chen-chi (吳振吉) and deputy director Wu Hsueh-yen (吳學燕) each received NT$40,000, while chief secretary Ho Jung-tsun (何榮村) was given NT$50,000.

The rewards for other staff members responsible for the project ranged between NT$5,000 and NT$150,000.

The 44 officials are “suspected of having committed collective embezzlement,” the newspaper said.

The NIA deputy director said the agency had received approval from the National Security Bureau to spend the NT$3.08 million to reward officials involved in the computer project and there were no irregularities in how the money was used.

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