Thu, Jan 10, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Hospital officials probed over alleged corruption

AWARDING CONTRACTS:Prosecutors said that five suspects produced falsified documents and bogus receipts to claim extra medication and other expenses

By Jason Pan and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

Taipei Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office agents yesterday escort Chen Li-chi, right, head of Taipei City Hospital’s Department of Pharmacy, and Chen Yi-ching, center, head of the Department’s Inventory Control Section.

Photo: Chen En-hui, Taipei Times

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into two Taipei City Hospital executives over allegations of siphoning off about NT$3 million (US$97,399) of public funds while procuring medicine.

The hospital is administered by the Taipei City Government.

The Taipei Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office and the Ministry of Justice’s Agency Against Corruption on Tuesday raided the hospital’s offices and several other locations, and brought in 15 people for questioning.

Prosecutors have named five suspects, including Chen Li-chi (陳立奇), head of the hospital’s department of pharmacy; a woman also surnamed Chen (陳), who is head of the department’s inventory control section; and a person surnamed Lee (李), who works at the Taiwan Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Prosecutors yesterday asked a court to detain Chen Li-chi, while the woman surnamed Chen was released on NT$200,000 bail and Lee on NT$50,000 bail.

Prosecutors said that the two Chens as society members from 2015 to 2016 helped the society secure three tender contracts from the Taipei Department of Health to provide long-term care to senior citizens, which included procuring medication and delivering to home-care patients.

The five suspects allegedly produced falsified documents and bogus receipts to claim extra medication and other expenses in collusion with medication suppliers, and placed the illegal gains in bank accounts of society members, prosecutors said.

The suspects would be charged with forgery and breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪汙治罪條例), prosecutors said, adding that evidence pointed to Chen Li-chi as the ringleader, which was why they requested he be detained.

The city government is “a group of more than 80,000 people, so you cannot expect everyone to be a saint,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

There might even be some Taipei police officers who still take bribes, but at least the administrative team — especially department heads — are not involved in any major corruption cases, he said.

The scandal involving the hospital is being handled by prosecutors, Ko added.

Ko during his re-election campaign last year often said that his team was “open, transparent, honest and upright.”

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