Guang­dong cracks down on graft

Most cases in­volve people hold­ing po­si­tions of trust and author­ity

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN zhangyan1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The num­ber of in­ves­ti­ga­tions on ma­jor bribery cases in­volv­ing high-rank­ing of­fi­cials has soared in Guang­dong prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to the Guang­dong Provin­cial People’s Procu­ra­torate.

Last year, 1,461 people were in­ves­ti­gated for bribery in 1,371 cases, an in­crease of 40 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year, said Chen Weix­iong, deputy di­rec­tor of the an­ticor­rup­tion body un­der the prov­ince’s top pros­e­cut­ing depart­ment.

Of those in­ves­ti­gated, 159 of­fi­cials were clas­si­fied as se­nior. These in­cluded 31 hold­ing po­si­tions above the level of bureau chief, an an­nual in­crease of 80 per­cent.

The 31 high-rank­ing of­fi­cials were found guilty of ac­cept­ing bribes worth up to 10 mil­lion yuan ($1.61 mil­lion).

“They abused their po­si­tion to help en­ter­prises that of­fered bribes for land zon­ing, de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion.”

Cases in­volv­ing more than one in­di­vid­ual, where of­fi­cials acted in uni­son to ac­cept bribes, also reg­is­tered a rise, he said.

Most cor­rup­tion cases in­volved people hold­ing po­si­tions of trust and author­ity or work­ing at State-owned en­ter­prises.

“They were in col­lu­sion with il­le­gal busi­ness oper­a­tors to trade money for power at the ex­pense of the pub­lic in­ter­est,” Chen said.

One typ­i­cal case oc­curred early last year, when Liu Xiao­jin, for­mer di­rec­tor of the Guangzhou Huangpu district Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion in Guang­dong, was charged with ac­cept­ing bribes. He was sen­tenced to more than five years in prison by the Guangzhou Luo­gang District People’s Court.

The court also con­fis­cated his il­licit gains to­tal­ing 400,000 yuan.

When he was in a po­si­tion of author­ity be­tween 2005 and 2011, Liu used his of­fice and ac­cepted bribes to get those he fa­vored pro­moted quickly and eased the way for the ap­proval of phar­macy li­censes.

From 2011 to 2012, he served as di­rec­tor of the Guangzhou Huangpu district city man­age­ment bureau, where he used his po­si­tion to help en­ter­prises that bribed him to rig the bid­ding process for a ma­jor clean­ing project, the court said.

Be­tween 2005 and 2012, he ac­cepted bribes worth 420,000 yuan and HK$64,000 ($8,250). In Fe­bru­ary 2012, Liu went to the Huangpu district pros­e­cut­ing depart­ment to con­fess his guilt.

Land deals and con­struc­tion have been the tra­di­tional ar­eas where cor­rup­tion has sur­faced, but the scourge has spread to new ar­eas such as auc­tions.

Most of­fi­cials found guilty of cor­rup­tion tend to be rel­a­tively young, of­ten un­der 35 years of age.

“Guang­dong is at the fore­front of re­form and open­ing up and is ad­ja­cent to Hong Kong and Ma­cao. Cor­rup­tion of­ten spreads and is in­ter­provin­cial, in­ter-re­gional and in­ter­na­tional,” Chen said.

But cor­rup­tion and bribery can be dif­fi­cult to pin­point.

“Bribes are of­fered in var­i­ous ways, such as con­sul­tancy fees, in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, shares, div­i­dends, or even spon­sor­ing chil­dren to study abroad,” he said.

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