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Mu Ping, chief procurator of the Beijing People’s Procuratorate
Officials in charge of demolition in housing management departments have become prime targets for corruption, a senior official with the Beijing People's Procuratorate said.
Among 41 suspects in job-related crimes connected to home demolitions over the last decade, an investigation found that 35 of them were in housing management departments.
"They took advantage of their jobs to take bribes during the process of real estate appraisal and property transactions," Mu Ping, chief procurator of the Beijing People's Procuratorate, told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
The suspects include a former housing department head.
The 41 cases involve bribery, corruption, embezzlement and malpractice. Among the cases, 28 were corruption cases, and five fell into the category of malfeasance. Other cases combined more than one offense.
Mu said corruption can also be found among connected groups of insiders.
Those in housing management departments are closely linked to engineering contracting, property assessment and compensation, for example.
"Job-related crimes reflect chains of interest and become institutionalized," Mu told China Daily on the sidelines of the annual plenary session of the National People's Congress on Tuesday.
"Job-related crimes can happen in any link during the demolition, which may involve not only people in power, but also frontline staff workers," he said.
Moreover, group bribery is commonly seen in demolition cases. Among the 41 cases, 14 involved group bribery, with the biggest involving 16 suspects.
"Some staff from the housing management departments colluded with employees from evaluation corporations or relocation service companies, to illegally get more money or larger houses for compensation," said Mu.
Such job-related crimes show "the relevant laws and regulations are not complete in China, and an effective supervision mechanism needs to be built for the sector", Mu said.
Meanwhile, some officials and staff workers in the sector couldn't resist the temptation, he added.
Yu Shujing, deputy director of the duty crime prevention department under the Beijing People's Procuratorate, said the supervision department should raise the hiring threshold for demolition and evaluation work.
It is also necessary to establish a "blacklist" of unqualified evaluation companies.
"Housing demolition in Beijing is a hot topic amid soaring house prices, and seeking benefits has become a major criminal motivation for some officials, especially from housing management departments," Li Guifang, deputy head of the criminal defense department of the All China Lawyers Association, told China Daily.
Establishing a complete judicial system to deal with problems arising from demolition is urgent, said Yi Shenghua, a Beijing-based lawyer.
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(China Daily 03/07/2012 page6)