Ex-lab chief to be prosecuted in NT$5.8 mil. fraud case

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–A female laboratory chief at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences under the Academia Sinicia was suspected of having swindled some NT$5.8 million from the Cabinet-level National Science Council (NSC) over the past three years, according to the Agency Against Corruption (AAC). AAC agents said that the chief, surnamed Siew, was found in August this year to have taken advantage of her post to ask, in person or via her assistants, 10 local firms to issue false invoices, starting December 2008. Siew then used the invoices to claim payment from the NCS and the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, and rewarded the 10 firms in cash amounting to 10 to 25 percent of the face value of the invoices they issued.

The AAC and the Taipei District Prosecutors’ office yesterday raided Siew’s laboratory, office and residence, as well as the 10 companies in question, and interrogated Siew and the other 12 people involved in the scandal.

AAC agents noted that the Institute of Biomedical Sciences set up the laboratory to undertake an academic study project subsidized by the NSC. And the laboratory’s chief allegedly collected NT$5.8 million worth of invoices from the 10 suppliers without concluding real transactions, and kept around NT$1 million to herself.

Prosecutors will prosecute Siew for violating the Anti-Corruption Statute, Commercial Accounting Law, and the Criminal Act.

Also yesterday, Yeh Yi-hsiung, spokesman of the Academia Sinica, said that his organization took the initiative to report the scandal to the AAC after finding the illegal practice by staff of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. Yeh said that after being tipped off about Siew’s alleged irregularities, his organization soon conducted initial probes, with the allegation proving to be true. Then, the organization reported the case to the AAC, which moved to launch raids yesterday morning after informing the Academia Sinica of its action.

Yeh continued that Siew and other staffers involved in the case had already quit their jobs at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. But he declined to reveal any further details after the AAC and prosecutors stepped in to investigate the case.