Chinese lawmakers sacked for fraud
Investigators: 56 out of 76 provincial legislators off ered bribes worth millions
More than 500 lawmakers in Central China’s Hunan province have been disqualified, dismissed or have resigned over electoral fraud, the provincial legislature announced on Saturday.
A total of 527 municipal lawmakers were present at an election for provincial lawmakers during the first session of the 14th Hengyang municipal people’s congress in Hunan, the local legislative body, between Dec 28, 2012, and Jan 3, 2013, according to a statement issued by the provincial people’s congress.
A preliminary investigation has found 56 of the 76 lawmakers elected to the provincial legislature offered bribes to 518 of the municipal-level lawmakers and another 68 staff members. The total amount of money involved exceeded 110 million yuan ($18.14 million), the statement said.
The provincial legislature disqualified the 56 during a plenary meeting that concluded on Saturday, while county- level legislative bodies in Hunan’s Hengyang city accepted the resignations of the 512 who took bribes.
Another five provincial lawmakers not accused of bribery were dismissed for “serious dereliction of duty”, the statement said. An additional three municipal lawmakers resigned, also for “serious dereliction of duty”. An additional six municipal-level lawmakers who took bribes had already been transferred outside of the city and were no longer in their posts.
Tong Mingqian, then Party chief of Hengyang, was in charge of the election.
“Tong breached his duty as an official in charge and was directly responsible for this case,” the statement said.
On Dec 21, he was sacked from his new post as vice-chairman of the Hunan Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He has been under investigation by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
The fraud involving such a huge number of lawmakers and a large amount of money is serious in nature and has a vile impact, the statement said.
“This is a challenge to China’s system of people’s congresses, socialist democracy, law and Party discipline,” it said.
Those involved must be subject to strict scrutiny and harsh punishment, in line with the law and Party discipline, it said.
The provincial authorities have begun an investigation into the Party members and civil servants involved. Those suspected of breaking the law have been transferred to prosecutors.
“If more are found to have broken the law, they will also be passed to judicial authorities,” it said.