The Greater Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office on Monday charged Water Resources Agency (WRA) deputy chief engineer Chang Liang-ping (張良平) with accepting bribes and favoring certain manufacturers in flood control projects through bid rigging.
Prosecutors also indicted 14 other people, including Seventh River Management Office’s Engineering Affairs Section chief Hsu Chao-chin (許朝欽), a retired official at the section, Chuang Chi-yuan (莊啟源) and Sixth River Management Office deputy chief Hsieh Jui-chang (謝瑞章), who is suspended, as well as brokers Chu Tsuan-ching (朱鋑津) and Lai Heng-chih (賴恆志).
Water Resources Agency spokesperson Tien Chiao-ling (田巧玲) said that because the case has entered the judicial process, the agency respected the investigation results and hoped the court could ascertain the facts.
“All parties implicated in the case have been removed from their posts and are not involved in relevant businesses anymore,” Tien said.
In August, the prosecutors’ office ordered the Agency Against Corruption to launch a probe into a number of flood control projects that were carried out by the WRA after receiving an anonymous tip about possible collusion between government officials and businesspeople.
The investigation found that responsible officials for more than 10 projects — worth a total of NT$1.2 billion (US$41 million) — that fell within the jurisdiction of the sixth and the seventh river management offices allegedly favored certain manufacturers through bid rigging, turning a blind eye to the use of construction materials with poorer seismic design and putting public safety at risk.
Chang, along with a number of government officials, were also accused of taking bribes of between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million.
As the former director of Seventh River Management Office, Chang was lauded as a public-service role model in 2010 after helping repair embankments damaged by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009, and was promoted to his current post in June.
He also helped set up a team of “clean government volunteers” to stamp out corruption during his tenure as the Seventh River Management Office director.