Changhua County rocked by more graft allegations

ONGOING CASES::The latest allegations come after the county commissioner was accused of taking bribes by a local businessman, with his brother also investigated

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 - Page 3

The Changhua District Court yesterday turned down prosecutors’ request to detain a Changhua County Government official suspected of involvement in graft.

Changhua County Government official Chen Hsueh-li (陳雪莉), who formerly served as the director of the county’s environmental protection bureau, was instead released on bail of NT$300,000.

Investigators on Tuesday searched the county government’s offices, as well as the offices of the environmental protection bureau and some contractors.

Prosecutors said that they suspect Chen was involved in at least four questionable tenders during her tenure as the bureau chief, such as a procurement project for facilities to test the county’s underground water.

Chen allegedly received NT$3 million (US$101,567) in bribes in exchange for leaking names of evaluation committee members to a contractor surnamed Cheng (鄭), and for helping him win bids, prosecutors said.

Cheng was released on NT$200,000 bail.

This case marks the latest in a series of graft investigations against the county government.

The allegations of corruption have seriously damaged the local government’s reputation, with Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) accused by a local businessman of demanding kickbacks in a golf club development project, while Cho’s younger brother, Cho Po-chung (卓伯仲), is suspected of manipulating several tenders, including those for souvenir bags, ceramics and calendars which Cho Po-yuan distributed to supporters in the county, and for also allegedly receiving kickbacks from a contractor.

Cho Po-chung has been detained by the district court, while sources said that Cho Po-yuan is likely to be summoned for questioning by prosecutors after they have finished strengthening their case against him.