Local politician handed 15-year jail sentence in kickback case

Taipei, A former mayor of Gangshan Township in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung City will serve a 15-year-and- four-month jail term after Taiwan's Supreme Court rejected his appeal in an illegal kickback case.

According to the court's statement on Thursday, Wu Sen-fa (???), in an effort to avoid his township's annual budget being cut, entered into an agreement in 2008 with Ho Tsun-hsiu (???), then chairman of the local council, to take kickbacks from businesses looking to secure contracts for the township's infrastructure development.

The men enlisted a businessman named Lan Chin-chang (???) to be their go-between, which involved Lan telling businesses that if they wanted to win contracts with the township, they would have to go through him and pay 8-10 percent in kickbacks per tender, the statement noted.

In total, the three men received kickbacks from 39 tenders, ranging from NT$26,000-NT$670,000. Wu and Ho split the money 40-60 after paying Lan his fee, according to the court.

The Kaohsiung Branch Court of the Taiwan High Court previously ruled that Wu should receive a lighter sentence than Ho because he took the kickbacks to guarantee a budget for the township.

As a result, Wu, Ho and Lan were sentenced, respectively, to 15 years and four months in jail, with five years' deprivation of political rights; 17 years and 10 months in jail, with six years' deprivation of political rights; and six years and two months in jail, with two years' deprivation of political rights.

The Supreme Court saw no reason for the appeal, upholding the Kaohsiung Branch Court's original verdicts. The sentences were final.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel