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Taiwan will sue contractors if expired ammunition resold

Taiwan will sue contractors if expired ammunition resold

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will sue contractors if they have resold expired ammunition owned by Taiwan to an African country as has been reported, an official said Wednesday.
"We have a detailed and sophisticated plan to oversee contracts on the destruction of outdated ammunition, " said Wang Kuo-wu, director of the military procurement center under the MND Armaments Bureau.
"In terms of form and documentation, there should be no problems or loopholes in the contract, " Wang said. "If there is concrete evidence showing breach or violation of our contract, we will file a lawsuit against the contractors," he added.
According to a report carried in the latest edition of Next Magazine, Taiwan commissioned a foreign company to destroy more than 8,000 tons of expired ammunition.
Under the terms of the contract, the ammunition should be destroyed in Bulgaria, but the magazine said 1,884 tons were repackaged and sold to the African country of Angola by the Romanian president's family before the East European country's presidential election in 2009.
If the report is true, Wang said the MND will ask the main contractor -- Singapore's Explomo Technical Services -- to explain the situation.
In addition, he went on, the ministry will ask two contracted notary companies to assist in handling the case.
To prevent outflow or resale of outdated ammunition, Wang said, his office has designed various measures to monitor and supervise execution of the demolition contract.
According to the contract, Wang said, Explomo should produce a certificate of designation after the completion of final disposal of the outdated ammunition in Bulgaria.
Moreover, two notary companies -- Taiwan-based San lin Technologies and foreign-based Variety Co. -- should help verify or certify every demolition procedure. Both companies are required to come up with a certification report each month and install "outflow" preventive measures or facilities at every critical point of demolition.
Furthermore, Wang went on, the Bulgarian disposal company Maxim is required to prepare a daily work diary documenting which types of ammunition and how much has been destroyed each day, along with photos of relevant operations.
"If any of our outdated ammunition was misdirected or resold, we will take legal action, including revoking previous certification, demanding the return of payment and guaranty money, and filing a civil suit to seek damages," Wang said, adding that the ministry may also refer the case to the prosecution if any cases of document forgery are found.
Responding to questions as to why the military itself cannot demolish its outdated ammunition, such as tracer shells and grenades, Chien Shih-feng, an official at the Combined Logistics Command, said that in the past, the military destroyed its outdated ammunition by detonating it.
"That method, which tends to cause pollution, can no longer be used amid growing public environmental consciousness, " Chien said, adding that as the amount of outdated ammunition is not large, outsourcing is more economical than procuring equipment to allow the military to do the job by itself.
(By Lee Shui-hula and Sofia Wu)