The Taichung Prosecutors’ Office yesterday launched a massive search at the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) after some top management officials were alleged to have accepted bribes and paid-for trips to sex clubs from the contractor in charge of the administration’s “Around-the-Nation Safety Enhancement Project.”
A total of 120 prosecutors and investigators raided 31 locations, including the offices of TRA Deputy Director-General Chung Chao-hsiung (鍾朝雄).
The Investigation Bureau said that the project has an approved budget of NT$14.9 billion (US$510 million) from the Executive Yuan to build barrier-free facilities for disabled passengers at some TRA stations.
Some of the officials were alleged to have granted special favors to a certain contractor by allowing it to win the contract with bids lower than that of other bidders.
After the contractor secured the project, the railway administration officials allegedly changed the construction plans, increased the construction budget and delayed the start of the construction.
They allegedly received kickbacks from the contractor in return.
The bureau also indicated that the TRA officials allegedly interacted closely with the contractor and were reported to have met in private to discuss the contract.
In particular, the contractor allegedly treated TRA officials to outings to certain clubs in Taipei or Taichung every time before the TRA was about to conduct final inspections of the construction. If the officials visited any of these clubs by themselves, all their expenses would be paid by the contractors as well, the bureau said.
The officials were alleged to have received illegal benefits of approximately NT$3 million from the contractors.
In response, the TRA said that it would cooperate with prosecutors to facilitate the investigation.