Funds to help poor stolen by of­fi­cials

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By CAO YIN caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Low-level of­fi­cials found to have mis­ap­pro­pri­ated funds in­tended for poor peo­ple in the nine lat­est dis­closed cases have been pun­ished, anti-cor­rup­tion au­thor­i­ties said on Mon­day.

The cases were dis­closed on the web­site of the Cen­tral Com­mis­sion for Dis­ci­pline In­spec­tion, the coun­try’s top anti-graft agency.

The move sounds a warn­ing for lo­cal of­fi­cials who may be tempted to dip into such funds and also sig­nals the need for govern­ment de­part­ments to make a greater ef­fort to fight this type of cor­rup­tion, ac­cord­ing to anti-graft au­thor­i­ties and ex­perts in the field.

“Cor­rup­tion or dis­ci­plinary vi­o­la­tions in poverty al­le­vi­a­tion is still fre­quent, harm­ing peo­ple’s in­ter­ests and af­fect­ing their in­come,” the web­site said.

From Jan 1 to Aug 29, 325 in­stances of of­fi­cials be­ing pun­ished for break­ing laws in their han­dling of aid for the poor were dis­closed on the com­mis­sion’s web­site.

Of those, 218 in­volved cor­rupt vil­lage heads, the low­est level of ad­min­is­tra­tor, rep­re­sent­ing 67 per­cent of the to­tal, the web­site said.

Among the new­est cases is Liu Junx­iong, the for­mer top of­fi­cial of a vil­lage in Hequ county, Shanxi prov­ince, who was re­moved from the Party af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors found he cheated govern­ment de­part­ments out of 150,000 yuan ($22,490).

The num­ber of in­stances dis­closed, from Jan 1 to Aug 29, of of­fi­cials be­ing pun­ished for break­ing laws in their han­dling of aid for the poor

Liu claimed that he needed the money, in­tended for the poor­est in the vil­lage, for sheep farm­ing and fix­ing up a house, but the in­ves­ti­ga­tors found he never kept sheep and did not use the money for main­te­nance, the web­site said. It did not dis­close how the money was used.

“Vil­lage of­fi­cials are eas­ier to cor­rupt, be­cause most of them are in­volved in di­rectly man­ag­ing in­vest­ment pro­jects or money,” said Du Zhizhou, a pro­fes­sor and deputy di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for In­tegrity Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion at Bei­hang Uni­ver­sity.

Poverty re­lief funds for hous­ing re­con­struc­tion have been the big­gest sin­gle tar­get of mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of money and other dis­ci­plinary vi­o­la­tions, the au­thor­ity said.

Eighty-six of the cases dis­closed in­volved il­le­gal use of such funds.

Du said al­most ev­ery vil­lager badly needs money for such re­pairs, and ap­ply­ing for the funds is not dif­fi­cult, “which is why this area has been a breed­ing ground for graft.”

Some of­fi­cials have used loop­holes in fund ap­pli­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to Song Wei, deputy di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Anti-Cor­rup­tion Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy in Bei­jing, Le­gal Daily re­ported.

Song sug­gested govern­ment de­part­ments sim­plify the pro­ce­dures in a bid to cur­tail of­fi­cials’ op­por­tu­ni­ties to steal, the re­port added.

The Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate dis­closed that it has in­ves­ti­gated and filed cases against 658 peo­ple ac­cused of cor­rup­tion in­volv­ing pro­grams to help the poor from Jan­uary to May. That’s up 53.7 per­cent year-on-year.

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