BEIJING - A top auditor in the city of Haimen, East China's Jiangsu province, was discovered to have violated Party discipline by spending lavishly on hospitality, among other infractions.
Shi Ping, director of Haimen Audit Bureau, on Saturday received an administrative demotion and a severe reprimand from the Communist Party of China for violating discipline after he was exposed in an online post last month.
The post, published by "hacksuper18" at the end of December on Tianya.cn, one of China's most popular Internet forums, revealed that the bureau hosted a luxury tour for its counterparts from Mianzhu, Sichuan province.
The junket is estimated to have cost nearly 100,000 yuan ($15,000), according to some netizens.
The detailed itinerary of the tour showed that only four hours were used by officials to discuss business, while the remainder of the two-day trip was spent on pleasure, including karaoke sessions at high-end clubs and visits to museums.
The post listed the names and titles of 24 Haimen officials who accompanied their 15 visitors on their activities.
Shi has apologized to the public since his exposure, claiming the trip was designed to return the hospitality of officials at the Mianzhu bureau, who received a group from Haimen following the major earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008.
Subsequent posts appeared, alleging that Shi used public vehicles for private business and asked to be reimbursed for personal expenses.
The city's Party discipline inspection commission responded by suspending Shi from his post while an investigation was launched on Jan 8.
A report on the inquiry was released on Saturday, confirming some of the accusations against Shi.
Yu Zhiping, head of the city's supervisory bureau, who oversaw the investigation, said the cost of hosting the guests from Mianzhu was about 28,000 yuan, considerably less than the online estimates suggested, though the amount did exceed guidelines.
Shi spent lavishly over the past three years, according to the report. The investigation established that under Shi's leadership the bureau spent 960,000 yuan entertaining guests over the last three years, 300,000 more than the approved budget.
The report also revealed other forms of misconduct committed by Shi. Last February, for example, Shi and 25 other officials from the audit bureau received hongbao - traditional red packets with gift money - containing 500 yuan each during a training exercise.
All the money was turned over on Jan 4 to the discipline watchdog, which concluded on Saturday that Shi and the Haimen Audit Bureau had breached discipline in varying degrees.
(China Daily 01/17/2011 page5)