Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Taiwan investigates ammunition scandal involving Romanian presidential family

Ammunition destined for destruction in Bulgaria ended up in Angola: Reports

Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday it would file legal action if media reports alleging the illegal sale of its old ammunition to Angola via the Romanian presidential family were true.

Next Magazine alleged in its latest edition that relatives of Romanian President Traian Basescu repackaged expired Taiwanese ammunition destined for destruction in Bulgaria and sold it to the African nation of Angola.

More than 8,000 tons of grenades, mines and other old ammunition should have been destroyed, but the Romanians took 1,884 tons before presidential elections there last year, Next said.

The military would request information from Explomo Technical Services, the Singapore-based company which won the contract to destroy the ammunition, said Wang Kuo-wu, director of the Procurement Center at the Armaments Bureau under the defense ministry.

If the media reports turned out to be true, the military would take the necessary legal action, Wang said. First it would abrogate the contract, then demand the repayment of the fees and guarantee deposits stipulated by the contract, and file a compensation demand. The likelihood of forgery would also be investigated, he said.

Wang emphasized that the Ministry of National Defense was extremely careful about planning and supervising the handling of old ammunition. In May last year, military representatives traveled to Bulgaria to supervise the execution of the contract, which was completed in August, according to Wang.

Maxam, the Bulgarian company handling the case, had to provide a daily list of the destroyed ammunition accompanied by pictures, he said.

The ministry had also asked two companies, one Taiwanese and one foreign, to provide monthly reports about the handling of the weaponry.

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