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June 24, 2017

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Ex-fire agency head listed as defendant in graft case

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former National Fire Agency (NFA) Director-General Huang Ji-min (黃季敏) was listed as a defendant on corruption charges by the Investigation Bureau yesterday after being summoned for interrogation.

According to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, which is probing Huang's case, the former director-general is alleged to have instructed an intermediary agent to order customized-standard radio transmission equipment on behalf of the National Fire Agency in 2005, while cooperating with a manufacturer introduced by Huang's brother Huang Wen-chou (黃文宙).

After the manufacturer landed the contract, Huang was able to share the illegal profits — reaching over NT$1 million — with the manufacturer.

Huang was released after interrogation as the prosecution stated that there was evidence and issues to be evaluated before detaining Huang.

The prosecution discovered that the NFA had spent NT$129.3 million on two tender contracts, with Huang receiving 40 percent of the profits while the manufacturer received the remaining 60 percent — which is divided into three equal portions among three factories.

The prosecution stated that Huang has received as much as NT$19.24 million on commission alone, and was charged with violating the Anti-Corruption Act for accepting bribes and the Money Laundering Control Act in December 2012. Huang was indicted and faces a possible life sentence for allegedly taking bribes in the purchase of disaster relief command vehicles and long-range high-frequency radio systems from 2002 to 2006. The case is currently being tried by the Taipei District Court.

Huang Continues to Deny Allegations

Although Huang has already been indicted, the Investigation Bureau is still probing extensions of his previous bribery case, resulting in the discovery of the 2005 illegal profits made through the two contracting cases.

At least two manufacturing managers were summoned for questioning along with Huang yesterday, with Huang insisting that he had not broken any laws and claiming that the contracting cases were carried out according to the law. Despite his words, Huang was still listed as a defendant by the prosecution.

After searching four factories, the prosecution first summoned Huang to testify as a witness earlier yesterday.

Huang was in custody for nearly a year and was offered bail by the Taipei District Court after eight months of investigation. Huang's family, however, was unable to collect the required NT$30 million bail, so Huang was sent back to jail shortly after the offer was made.

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