Navy officers punished over controversial warship contract

2017/11/22 20:14:03 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Navy officers punished over controversial warship contract

Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday handed out punishments to 23 military officers, including three active admirals and former Navy Commander Chen Yeong-kang (陳永康) in connection with a contract awarded to a financially troubled local shipbuilder embroiled in an alleged loan fraud scandal.

Ching Fu Shipbuilding Co. won the NT$34.9 billion (US$1.19 billion) contract to build six minesweepers for the Navy in October 2014.

The company is under investigation for trying to secure a NT$20.5 billion loan from a group of domestic banks using bogus documents to falsify four capital increments that made it eligible to receive the loan.

Eighteen former and acting Navy officers received a wide range of punishments, from demerits to admonitions, for failing to confirm Ching Fu had the requisite financial and manufacturing ability before awarding the contract to the company and failing to monitor the execution of the contract.

A Navy lieutenant was given two demerits, while eight other Navy officers received one demerit, including Deputy Defense Minister Pu Tze-chun (蒲澤春), who was deputy commander of the Navy in 2014 and Vice Admiral Mei Chia-shu (梅家樹), then Navy Command Headquarters Chief of Staff.

Chief of the General Staff Lee Hsi-ming (李喜明), then Navy commander and Navy Admiral Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光) were among nine officers who received two admonitions.

In addition, Mei and several others were also disciplined for failing to file an updated report on the budget for the project.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said Wednesday he had indicated a willingness to be disciplined in relation to the Ching Fu case but President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told him the most important thing at present is for him to properly address the problems arising from the awarding of the contract.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Liu Lee-jung and Evelyn Kao)

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