Former independent legislator Yang Tsung-jer (楊宗哲) was sentenced on Friday to 13 years in prison for corruption by the Taiwan High Court’s Taichung branch.
Yang was convicted for receiving NT$8.31 million (US$284,000) in bribes while serving as chief of Hsihu Township (溪湖) in Changhua County.
Yang’s wife, Yeh Mei-hui (葉美惠), was sentenced to nine-and-half years in prison for her role in the same case.
Yang, Yeh and other defendants can still appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court.
Yang was elected Hsihu Township chief in 1998. He and the township’s 12 representatives passed an order under which any firm that won a bid for township construction projects had to remit 25 percent of the construction fee as a commission. Under the plan, Yang took 5 percent of the commission while the 12 representatives shared 20 percent, the ruling said.
In the ruling, the court found that some of the money was used to fund the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential campaign ahead of the 2000 election.
The ruling added that Yeh had represented Yang in asking contractors for bribes.
The ruling said a contractor who won a NT$3 million road construction bid was asked to pay more than NT$600,000, but since it was known that he was in financial difficulty, they asked him to pay just NT$180,000.
The ruling said six of the 12 representatives, who confessed they took bribes during investigations and became witnesses for the prosecution, had already been found not guilty by a lower court.
Yang, Yeh and six representatives have denied taking bribes.