China targets poverty relief fund mis­use as cor­rup­tion on rise

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

China has an­nounced a five-year cam­paign to crack down on cor­rup­tion by of­fi­cials en­gaged in poverty relief work, which kicked off at the be­gin­ning of 2016.

Duty crimes are the most re­cent area to be scru­ti­nized by anti-graft au­thor­i­ties as in­con­sis­tences have been flagged in poverty relief bud­gets.

In the past three years, pros­e­cu­tors have in­ves­ti­gated 2,295 of­fi­cials who man­age poverty al­le­vi­a­tion -- 579 in 2013, 783 in 2014, and 933 in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the Supreme Peo­ple's Procu­ra­torate (SPP) on Tues­day.

The num­ber of of­fi­cials im­pli­cated in abuse of fi­nances for poverty relief in the past three years ac­counted for 1.4 per­cent of the to­tal duty crimes dur­ing the same pe­riod, the SPP added.

The sharp rise of cor­rup­tion in poverty al­le­vi­a­tion is due to a high num­ber of poverty relief projects and funds in­volved, as well as lax su­per­vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to an uniden­ti­fied of­fi­cial with the anti-cor­rup­tion bureau un­der the SPP.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions by the SPP show that of­fi­cials at county, town­ship and vil­lage level are most likely to be in­volved in duty crimes, span­ning bribery, em­bez­zle­ment, spec­u­la­tion, abuse of power and dere­lic­tion of duty.

Pros­e­cu­tors will im­prove the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of mis­use of funds for re­lo­ca­tion, eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion, edu- cation and med­i­cal in­surance, and ru­ral liv­ing al­lowances.

Of­fi­cials who are in charge of traf­fic man­age­ment, hy­dropower and elec­tric power in­fra­struc­ture and ren­o­va­tion in ru­ral ar­eas will also be tar­geted in the anti-graft cam­paign.

More­over, an in­for­ma­tion shar­ing sys­tem will be set up to en­sure all poverty al­le­vi­a­tion funds are used ef­fec­tively and trans­par­ently, the SPP said, adding that of­fi­cials will re­ceive train­ing to in­crease their le­gal aware­ness.

The preven­tion of duty crimes in poverty relief is a vi­tal mea­sure to poverty al­le­vi­a­tion ef­forts as well as a ma­jor re­spon­si­bil­ity of pros­e­cu­tors, said the SPP.

China aims to lift ev­ery­one in ru­ral ar­eas out of poverty and build "a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety" by 2020.

Mean­while, A state-level in­te­grated cir­cuit base project has bro­ken ground in cen­tral China's Hubei prov­ince, with an in­vest­ment of $24 bil­lion ex­pected in the com­ing five years.

Con­struc­tion started Mon­day in the East Lake High-tech Zone in Wuhan city, cap­i­tal of Hubei. The project fo­cuses on re­search and devel­op­ment of mem­ory prod­ucts. Monthly pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity will reach 300,000 chips in 2020 and 1 mil­lion in 2030.

Hubei has set up a spe­cial in­vest­ment fund of 50 bil­lion yuan ($7.7 bil­lion) to sup­port the IC in­dus­try.

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