Fri, Aug 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Military officials questioned amid bid-rigging probe

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Military personnel in charge of armaments production and maintenance at the Ministry of National Defense yesterday were released on bail amid a probe into alleged bid rigging and fraudulent accounting.

Following raids by judicial agencies on Wednesday, 23 people were summoned for questioning, 17 officers and noncommissioned officers, and six people from contracted companies.

Following questioning, the two highest-ranking officers, Colonel Hsu Fu-lin (徐福臨), deputy head of the Acquisition Management Division of the Armaments Bureau, and another colonel surnamed Hsieh (謝), a top official at the 202nd Arsenal, were released after posting bail.

Taipei prosecutors said those summoned for questioning were suspected of breaching the Anti-Corruption Act (貪汙治罪條例) by profiting through collusion with contractors, for which bail was set at NT$200,000 (US$6,530.4) for Hsu, NT$500,000 for Hsieh, and between NT$100,000 and NT$50,000 for the other military personnel.

The probe focused on five procurement tenders from 2015 to last year involving the Armaments Bureau and 202nd Arsenal, specifically for electrical wiring and fire-response systems for the indigenous CM-32 Clouded Leopard armored vehicles, as well as parts for the manufacture of firearms, prosecutors said.

Military personnel allegedly colluded with New Taipei City-based military equipment and parts supplier Snger Technology, which is headed by company chairman Lin Ke-yeh (林克燁), and other companies, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they received information regarding alleged bid rigging and financial irregularities after Snger Technology won procurement tenders for the armored vehicles three years in a row.

Lin and several company executives were questioned on Wednesday and released after posting bail yesterday, prosecutors said.

The probe was begun last year after army units handling the armored vehicles reported glitches and operational problems, as well as issues with electrical systems, prosecutors said, adding that inferior-quality parts were used.

Preliminary investigations found evidence of bid-rigging, collusion in the procurement process, fraudulent accounting involving inflated prices and military personnel “going easy” to ensure evaluation tests were passed, prosecutors said.

Along with suspected corruption, prosecutors said charges were also likely to be filed on breaches of the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) and for forgery, receiving bribes and seeking illegal profits, they said.

The profits totaled more than NT$10 million, prosecutors said.

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