Controversy Surrounds Missle Boat Contract

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The controversy that has emerged over the bidding process for a Ministry of National Defense (MND) boat-building contract has thrown a spotlight on the local arms trade's unhealthy stew of power politics and influence-peddling, according to a published report in the Taipei Times

According to the report, the problem began last week when People First Party (PFP) Legislator Sun Ta-chien accused companies involved in the bidding of leaning on officials in order to secure a $446 million contract to build 29 missile boats for the navy. According to the report, Sun further alleged that former presidential adviser Chen Che-nan and Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hou Ho-hsiung pressured the ministry and the firm that won the contract to divert some work to a second company. The Taipei Times report said that Chen and Hou deny having done so.

In the wake of Sun's claims, calls are mounting in the legislature for a thorough investigation of the bidding on the missile-boat contract to uncover the truth, and hold responsible any businesspeople or government officials that may have engaged in wrongdoing.

Early last year, the MND published its plan to invite public bids for the contract.

Three major competitors for the contract emerged: the government's China Shipbuilding Co (CSBC) and two major private firms, Jong Shyn Shipbuilding Co (JSS) and Ching Fu Shipbuilding Co (CFS), Sun said, according to the report.

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