Chi­nese law­mak­ers sacked for fraud

Investigators: 56 out of 76 pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tors off ered bribes worth mil­lions

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SUNDAY NEWS - By XIN­HUA in Chang­sha

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.

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