Kaohsiung prosecutors yesterday raided the Greater Kaohsiung City Environmental Protection Bureau and questioned former bureau chief Lee Mu-sheng (李穆生) as part of an investigation into possible irregularities over environmental projects.
Chiayi judges last week gave Kaohsiung prosecutors the green light to detain Chang Ying-chi (張瑛姬), the sister of Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) on charges that she violated the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) over her involvement in alleged irregularities in environmental protection projects.
Aside from Chang Ying-chi, three professors from different university environmental protection departments were also detained.
Huang Tsai-hsiu (黃彩秀), spokesman for the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office, said 10 prosecutors raided the Greater Kaohsiung City environmental protection bureau in the morning and asked the bureau to provide documents for more than 20 environmental protection project cases between 2000 and this year. They seized a number of documents and several computers, she said.
Lee, who currently is an official with the bureau, was taken by investigators from his residence and was interviewed at the prosecutor’s offices.
Yang Hung-wen (楊宏文), another official at the bureau, was also summoned for questioning.
Prosecutors suspect that local environmental protection bureaus put forward a number of small projects which are not legally obliged to be put to public tender.
Local environmental protection bureaus were suspected of conspiring with university professors, who formed various committees to review the cases and to approve them, while bureau officials and the academics then allegedly took kickbacks from contractors after those projects had been guaranteed funding, prosecutors said.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said the city government was cooperating with the investigation and hoped that prosecutors would handle the matter carefully.
Lee was removed as bureau chief last week after media reports alleged he had played a role in a corruption case that involved former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世).