The Tainan District Court yesterday found Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Tainan City Councilor Hung Yu-feng (洪玉鳳) guilty of corruption, for pocketing NT$11.35 million (US$376,326) in government funds intended for staff wages over a 10-year period.
Hung’s husband, Kuo Sheng-huang (郭勝煌), was also convicted in the wage fraud scheme.
Investigators found that Kuo, who worked as Hung’s office director, falsified documents about staff recruitment and produced bogus receipts to apply for government funds, which went into the couple’s personal accounts.
Although the court found the couple guilty of breaching the Anti-Corruption Act (貪汙治罪條例), they were granted a two-year probation and would not have to serve time if they follow specific conditions set by the court.
They were stripped of their civil rights for five years and must pay a fine of NT$1 million each.
As it was the first ruling in the case, it is subject to appeal.
Starting in 2010, during Hung’s fifth term as councilor, she and her husband used the names of six people — who colluded with the couple — which they listed as office assistants and applied with the Tainan City Government for their wages, various subsidies for research and holiday pay, a court statement said.
The fraudulent scheme ran until public prosecutors launched an investigation last year, leading to Hung and Kuo being questioned and detained in March last year, released on bail in May and indicted in September.
Councilors in the six special municipalities can hire six to eight office staff and policy research assistants. Most councilors have three to four full-time employees, while the rest work as part-timers.
Separately, prosecutors yesterday indicted KMT New Taipei City Councilor Jongren Dalus on charges of vote-buying and illegal campaigning in connection with the January legislative elections.
Besides serving as the Aboriginal councilor for New Taipei City, Dalus is the chairman of the KMT’s National Association for Urban Region Lowland Aborigines.
KMT Taichung City Councilor Huang Jen (黃仁), who was contesting a legislative seat for a lowland Aboriginal district, allegedly gave Dalus, then his New Taipei City campaign director-general, NT$200,000 to buy votes, Taichung prosecutors said.
Dalus and Huang are Amis Aborigines from the nation’s east coast.
Prosecutors quoted Dalus as saying he did not distribute the money to Aboriginal voters in the city, but used it for personal expenses.
Dalus allegedly received the money, along with a list of eligible Aboriginal voters, from Huang’s wife, Wang Chun-mei (王春梅).
In yesterday’s indictment, Dalus and Wang were charged with breaching provisions of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員舉罷免法).
In other news, New Taipei City Councilor Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧) of the Democratic Progressive Party was yesterday placed in judicial detention in an ongoing corruption probe into a wage fraud scheme.
Since 2011, Wang allegedly made NT$4 million in illicit profits by listing the names of her three relatives as office staff to collect wages and other government subsidies.
Typhoon Chanthu could make landfall as far north as Yilan or Hualien counties late tomorrow night, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, adding that a land alert could be issued this afternoon or tomorrow morning. The bureau also said that it could possibly issue a sea alert late last night or early this morning. As of 2pm yesterday, Chanthu was 960km southeast of Pingtung County’s Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻). It was moving northwest at 15kph, but was projected to shift northward as it approached the Taiwan Strait due to a weakening Pacific high-pressure system, the bureau said. The bureau is closely monitoring the typhoon,
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