Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang’s (張花冠) sister, Chang Ying-chi (張瑛姬), was detained yesterday on charges of violating the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) over her involvement in an alleged corruption case.
The Greater Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office said it suspected that Helen Chang and her predecessor, Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), both members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), took bribes and leaked confidential information to Chun Lung Development Co during the bidding process for the Dapumei (大埔美) Intelligent Industrial Park at the Dapumei Herbs Park, a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, between 2004 and 2006, in exchange for helping the developer win the tender.
Chang Ying-chi once worked as Chen’s secretary when he was county commissioner. She is now a deputy secretary-general of the county’s trade and investment promotion association, a non-profit organization partly funded by the county government.
Chen was the county commissioner who promoted the project, while Helen Chang was a lawmaker when the bidding on the park was initiated.
Helen Chang was released on NT$3 million (US$100,000) bail and Chen on NT$1 million bail on Wednesday after being questioned by investigators.
The prosecutors mobilized more than 400 agents for the search of the county government on Tuesday, raiding more than 51 locations and summoned more than 40 people for questioning.
Aside from Chang Ying-chi, the prosecutors’ office on Wednesday also applied to the court for the detention of National Open University’s professor Wu Ming-ching (吳銘圳), National Sun Yat-sen University professor Lou Jie-chiung (樓基中), National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology professor Jim Jui-min Lin (林銳敏), National Pintung University of Science and Technology professor Chang Kuo-ching (張國慶) and Yeh Ya-chiang (葉雅強), the owner of one of the businesses that participated in the bid.
The court also granted the prosecutor’s request to detain Chiu Feng-ming (邱豐銘), an official of the county government’s department of overall planning, as a suspect.
According to Kaohsiung prosecutor Huang Tsai-hsiu (黃彩秀), Chang Ying-chi and Chiu were detained on charges of violating the Government Procurement Act by taking bribes while in officeand leaking confidential information, while the professors were detained on charges of having taken bribes from the businesses and not maintaining their neutral positions as evaluation members.
All other business owners that participated in the bid and the other members of the evaluation committee were released on bail for NT$200,000 to NT$300,000.
Commenting on their professors’ involvement in the case, the universities said the professors’ actions were their personal business and the schools would wait for the investigation to conclude before taking any action, if necessary.
Referring to the classes that the detained professors were teaching, the universities said that substitutes would be assigned to take over the classes as soon as possible.
Chiayi County Government spokeswoman Hsu Shu-fen (許淑芬) said yesterday that Helen Chang was saddened that her sister was detained, but stressed that her sister and all those detained were innocent.