The Pingtung District Court on Friday sentenced Pingtung Mayor Lin Hsieh-sung (林協松) and Pingtung City Council Speaker Hsiao Kuo-liang (蕭國亮) to several years in prison for corruption.
The court found Lin and Hsiao, both members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), guilty of forging official documents and other contraventions of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例).
It sentenced Lin to seven years in jail and Hsiao to four years and two months. They were also deprived of their civil rights for three years.
As Lin was convicted of corruption, he is to be removed as mayor under the Local Government Act (地方制度法), but Pingtung County Government officials said that the formal removal of Lin would not start until they receive the official ruling from the court.
The county would then appoint an interim mayor, they said.
Two other defendants, a Pingtung County Council administrator surnamed Yeh (葉) and a contractor surnamed Chou (周), were also convicted on corruption charges, with Yeh receiving a seven-year plus six-month sentence and Chou a three-year jail term. They would also be deprived of their civil rights for three years.
As it was the first ruling in the case, the defendants can file an appeal.
Prosecutors said that an investigation found accounting discrepancies, falsified receipts and purchasing figures that exceed council budgets.
They said that Lin and Hsiao colluded with a contractor to siphon money from procurement programs, reportedly taking NT$2.37 million (US$85,448 at the current exchange rate) over three years.
The judges said in the ruling that there was sufficient evidence of illegally moving public funds to private accounts.
They convicted Lin on 180 counts and Hsiao on five counts of corruption and other charges.
The previous mayor, Lin Ya-chun (林亞?), who is also a KMT member, was in April 2017 sentenced to 16 years in prison for siphoning off nearly NT$10 million in government funds.
Her sentence was reduced last year to seven years and 10 months.
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