Former Hsinchu City councilor Lee Huang Chin-yen (李黃錦燕) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was convicted of fraud and corruption in a second trial at the Taiwan High Court on Thursday.
The judges overturned an acquittal in a previous ruling, handing Lee Huang a four-year prison sentence and depriving her of her civil rights for three years.
Investigators found that from 2000 to 2010, Lee Huang forged documents, falsifying the number of people working for her to claim money from public funds earmarked for wages and subsidies for office assistants.
Accounting receipts showed that Lee Huang illegally claimed NT$9.32 million (US$297,042) over the 10-year period, prosecutors said.
In the first ruling, by a district court in 2011, she was convicted on 49 breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪汙治罪條例) — using public office to commit fraud — sentenced to a 10-year prison term and ordered to return the illegally claimed money.
The High Court acquitted her after an appeal, but she was convicted with the reduced sentence in Thursday’s second trial, which can still be appealed.
Separately, KMT Kaohsiung City Councilor Tang Hui-mei (唐惠美) has lost her seat after the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal and upheld a conviction on fraud and corruption charges.
It was the final ruling, with Tang receiving a suspended sentence and being deprived of her civil rights for two years. The decision means that she can no longer hold public office.
A Rukai Aboriginal representative for Kaohsiung’s mountain electorate district, Tang retained her seat in the nine-in-one elections in November last year.
In 2013, charges were laid against Tang and two other Aboriginal city councilors, KMT member Istanda Ciban (柯路加), a Bunun, and Democratic Progressive Party member Eteng Ingay, an Amis.
Investigators found that the trio had forged receipts to claim travel and lodging expenses when they visited mountainous areas to inspect Aboriginal communities.
In the second ruling by the High Court in March, the trio were convicted of fraud and of breaches of the act. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal and upheld the sentence from the second ruling.
In other news, Chen Lung-chin (陳隆進), former mayor of Pingtung County’s Liouciou Township (琉球), was found guilty of accepting bribes and profiteering from public construction projects in collusion with contractors from 2014 to last year.
An independent, Chen received a 22-year sentence and was deprived of his civil rights for five years in the first ruling by the Pingtung District Court, which can still be appealed.
In the same ruling, former independent councilor Hung Tzu-chien (洪慈綪) and her husband, Huang Chih-wei (黃志威), were convicted of illegal profiteering and receiving kickbacks of about NT$3 million from public construction projects on the outlying island, with both receiving 12-year prison terms and being deprived of their civil rights for five years.
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