Eight employees from four catering companies were summoned for questioning by prosecutors yesterday in a new wave of investigations into alleged bribery linked to school-lunch catering services.
The owners and sales representatives of the New Taipei City (新北市) firms were held incommunicado after being questioned.
Initial probes were launched in May in response to a tip-off that some lunch suppliers in the city had bribed school executives to secure catering contracts.
A total of 29 incumbent or retired principals were interrogated and 13 of them have been placed in detention since October, while 16 others were released on bail of between NT$200,000 (US$6,630) and NT$1 million.
Prosecutors said the principals involved received bribes from the suppliers annually, even when they had been transferred to different schools.
As of yesterday, some of the principals had returned up to NT$19.89 million, the prosecutors said.
Minister of Education Wu Ching-ji (吳清基) last month also instructed all city and county governments to launch investigations to determine whether schools beyond New Taipei City are also involved in the practice, especially because most elementary and junior-high schools have cafeterias supplied by private catering companies.