17 Keelung City Councilors questioned over road-widening project
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-21 03:50 PM
Acting on orders from the Keelung District Prosecutors Office, officers from the Investigation Bureau and the Agency against Corruption pulled in more officials from the Keelung Municipal Government Wednesday in connection with an investigation into alleged corruption in improvement projects in the city.

The latest group to be brought in for questioning were grilled about a road-widening project on Yuemei Road where officials and businessmen are suspected of collusion over the budget and execution of the project. Yuemei Road passes through a relatively sparsely populated zone, and investigators believe the road-widening project may have been undertaken for the particular benefit of manufacturers operating in the area.

Investigators seized a large number of accounting books and records as well as NT$5 million in cash, and 19 people including 18 Blue and Green city councilors, have been named as defendants. After a night of interviews, only city councilor Cheng Yi-hsin was detained, while the remaining 17 government officials and clerks were told they may be called back for further questioning.

Chief prosecutor Chou Chi-yung of the Keelung District Prosecutors Office said that the Wednesday operation was carried out mainly in connection with suspected collusion on the road widening project on Yuemei Road. The prosecutors office sent 140 officers to search 24 locations including offices in the Keelung City Council as well as the residences of some government officials.

Chou noted that the road-widening project was proposed by the Keelung City Government to "improve the Keelung living area" and included a request to the Ministry of the Interior for NT$500 million in funding. The project drew the attention of law enforcement agencies after it was initially rejected by the majority of the city councilors, but when the proposal was submitted a second time many “changed their minds” and decided to support it, raising suspicions of bribery and collusion among the city councilors.

Wednesday’s action brought in 18 persons including a good number of the 31 city councilors.

After a round of interviews which ran until one o'clock in the morning, 15 persons including city council members were told they may be called back again for further questioning. Only Cheng Yi-hsin was detained Thursday morning, while the remaining city councilors and businessmen Chen Chen-feng and Huang Lian-mao were instructed to remain available for further questioning if needed.

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