One former and one current Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) city councilor are under investigation on charges of fraud regarding unearned office assistant salaries.
Former Keelung city councilor Han Liang-yin (韓良圻) was indicted on corruption charges on Thursday for the alledged embezzlement of NT$8.9 million (US$319,340) in public funds.
Han, 64, had won a city councilor seat five times, first in 1998. He did not run in the 2018 elections due to illness and has since been retired from elected politics.
Prosecutors said that Han put family members on the government payroll for most of his two decades in office. Prosecutors alledge that two people, surnamed Yang (簡) and Chien (簡), were hired as assistants without performing any work.
Each elected councilor in Taiwan’s six special municipality city councils can hire up to eight assistants for policy research and to provide services to constituents. Public funds up to NT$80,000 can be paid per assistant in monthly salary, according to the Regulations on Allowances for Elected Representatives and Subsidies for Village Heads and Wardens (地方民意代表費用支給及村里長事務補助費補助條例).
Han’s son, Han Shih-yu (韓世昱), who has held a seat on the Keelung city council since 2018, was detained for four months to prevent collusion in testimony, and was released on NT$1 million bail on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Taichung City Councilor Jan Ling-hsuan (冉齡軒) was detained following a court hearing on Thursday to prevent destruction of evidence and collusion in testimony, as well as because he is considered a flight risk.
Authorities conducted raids at seven locations in Taichung on Wednesday and served summonses for 23 people for questioning, including Jan and her husband, regarding suspected fraudulent office assistant salaries.
Taichung prosecutors listed 13 of the 23 people as suspects who face pending charges of contravening provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例), while the other 10 are listed as witnesses.
Jan allegedly had several assistants on the payroll who did not work in her office, and is alleged to have personally embezzled money from the additional salaries, prosecutors said.
Jan’s husband was released after questioning, posting NT$50,000 bail.
Separately, the High Court on Wednesday upheld a guilty verdict against former independent Taipei city councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥) for embezzling NT$120,000 in unearned office assistant salaries while he was in office.
However, his sentence was reduced from more than seven years to three-and-a-half years.
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