10,300 probed in ongoing SOE corruption crackdown
Prosecutors nationwide are taking strong measures to curb the corruption that is plaguing Stateowned enterprises, a senior antigraft official from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said.
Figures provided by the procuratorate show that, since 2013, national prosecuting departments have investigated 10,303 officials and staff members over allegations of bribery and corruption in Stateowned companies.
The number accounts for 21 percent of all cases of corruption that were investigated during the period.
Most of the suspects were senior managers who in some cases colluded with government officials to accept bribes, commit embezzlement or take State-owned assets.
“The cases mainly involved engineering projects, purchasing and sales, property management and international businesses,” said Zhao Wu’an, a senior official at the SPP’s corruption-prevention department.
“The fundamental solution is to promote modern enterprise management systems in State-owned companies, to separate politics from enterprises and to handle the relationship between political power and the allocation of resources properly,” said Song Hansong, the department’s director.
He said that to curb the rampant corruption, prosecutors have examined 100 major national engineering projects since 2013, most of which involved State-owned enterprises.
He called on watchdogs within the companies, such as inspectors, supervision boards and auditing departments, to carry out their duties thoroughly to prevent corrupt behavior by staff.
Last year, Chinese police accused GlaxoSmithKline China, a British pharmaceutical giant, of offering huge bribes to officials and doctors to boost their product sales.
The company also faced accusations that it transferred up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to 700 middlemen over six years to facilitate the corruption.
Four senior Chinese executives at the company were detained, and Abbas Hussain, president of Europe, emerging markets and the Asia-Pacific for GlaxoSmithKline in Beijing, made a public apology and said the company will fully cooperate with police in the investigation.
Song said prosecuting departments face a number of practical difficulties when investigating corruption since getting their hands on evidence can be difficult as there is no paper trail.
Song said the procuratorate will increase education in State-owned companies about the dangers of corruption and offer advice on how to deal with it.
Companies will also take more steps themselves to combat the scourge, he said.
The most effective measure, he said, is to “tighten supervision of ‘naked officials’ in State-owned companies”.
This term refers to officials who have sent their children and spouses overseas to pave the way for their own departure, said Liu Fang, a lawyer from the All China Lawyers Association.
She also said that greater supervision over State-owned companies, especially those involved in high-cost projects, is required.