Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Councilor accuses city government of wasteful spending

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor yesterday said the Taipei City Government was spending millions of New Taiwan dollars on foreign inspection tours with little to show for it.

Showing records of an inspection tour to Japan by 11 officials and staff from Taipei City’s Department of Finance in July, DPP Taipei City Councilor Ho Chi-wei (何志偉) said the five-day visit to Tokyo and Yokohama cost more than NT$800,000 (US$27,000), with an average cost for each delegation member of NT$73,000.

“A five-day tour package to Tokyo usually costs about NT$25,000 a head, but with more than NT$70,000, one can really indulge oneself. Besides, the delegation had a pretty relaxing schedule as they only visited five local government bureaus and city projects during the trip,” he said yesterday at a press conference at Taipei City Hall.

Ho also lashed out at Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) for budgeting nearly NT$8 million for his recent trips to Hong Kong, Singapore, the US and Central America.

Hau last month also led a delegation of 31 city government officials and staff on a five-day inspection of public housing projects in Hong Kong and Singapore with a budget of NT$3.9 million.

The mayor left on a 13-day visit to the US, Nicaragua and Panama on Tuesday to attend the 55th Sister Cities International Annual Conference in Arlington, Virginia, and visit sister cities in Nicaragua and Panama.

A total of 12 city government officials and city councilors are traveling with Hau on the trip, which will cost the city government NT$4 million, information provided by Ho showed.

“Instead of spending the city’s money carefully, the mayor and finance department officials are the ones leading the way in wasting taxpayers’ money,” the councilor said.

Finance Department deputy commissioner Lee Yong-cheng (李永成) yesterday denied wasting money on foreign inspection tours and said that the department drafted the budget in accordance with the regulations established by the Executive Yuan.

Dismissing the accusations that the trip to Tokyo and Yokohama had been too expensive, Lee said most of the money was spent on transportation and hotel expenses, which are expensive in the two cities.

During the trip, the delegation visited local government bodies such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Finance and various public construction projects, including the underground mall at Yokohama Station and Tokyo Midtown, he said.

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