Eight public elementary school principals in New Taipei City (新北市) yesterday were indicted by Banciao District (板橋) prosecutors on suspicion of taking bribes from school lunch suppliers.
Banciao prosecutors said recordings of telephone conversations and accounting books from the school lunch suppliers both indicated that bribes were paid.
However, because principals Chang Chung-jen (張崇仁), Yeh Chen-yi (葉振翼) and Ko Fen (柯份) denied any wrongdoing during the investigation, prosecutors asked the Banciao District Court to sentence them to between 15 and 20 years in jail.
Prosecutors said since the other five principals — Wu Yu-mei (吳玉美), Lee Ming-sheng (李明生), Lee Ying-tsung (李應宗), Hsu Li-chen (許利楨) and Tsai Pao-chun (蔡寶俊) — all admitted to taking bribes and had returned the money, the court should give them more lenient sentences.
Eleven lunch suppliers were indicted along with the principals yesterday.
Prosecutors said the lunch suppliers bribed the principals so they would receive a better evaluation, which helped their bids to supply lunches.
Schools typically hold bids for lunch suppliers once a semester. To gain an edge, prosecutors said some suppliers increased the price of their lunches by between NT$2 and NT$5 a serving, which went to bribes for the principals. The bribes totaled between NT$200,000 and NT$300,000 a semester for some principals.
Some of the principals are also suspected of leaking the names of committee members in charge of reviewing the New Taipei City elementary school lunch program to lunch suppliers so they could bribe the committee members, prosecutors said.