Yunlin County councilors on Friday accused the county government of taking money from accident-prone Formosa Plastics Group (FPG).
Councilor Lee Chien-chih (李建志) blasted Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) for accepting NT$1 billion (US$34.6 million) from FPG last month.
“Taking the money is a humiliating act for the people of Yunlin, especially now when the public is focusing on workplace safety at FPG plants after seven fires at the group’s petrochemical complex in one year,” said another councilor, Lin Shen (林深).
Saying the county government was being “duplicitous” for denouncing the group over the fires on one hand and taking its money on the other, Lin said he doubted the county could remain impartial on safety issues after accepting such a huge sum from FPG.
In response, Su defended her actions by saying that the payments were a matter of regular compensation and they had already been allocated to specific purposes.
The county government would not be be soft on safety issues and the allocations of all funds would be transparent, Su said.
The county had received more than NT$2.6 billion in donations from FPG since 2006, county officials said, adding that the money received last month had nothing to do with the fires and would be used to hold agricultural fairs, build a puppetry cultural center and an international assembly hall.
FPG said that the payments were standard compensation to the county where its petrochemical complex is located. The group denied accusations that it used the payment to seek leniency in county oversight of safety at the complex, and said it would continue to work to improve safety at the complex.
The fires led the Executive Yuan to order a shutdown of all FPG plants that have suffered fires at the group’s Mailiao complex. The company has also been forced to suspend operations at the remaining production facilities in the complex for safety inspections.