Former drug chief faces graft trial

By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-04-09 06:46

The former State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Zheng Xiaoyu, who was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) last month, has been accused of taking bribes totaling more than 5 million yuan ($647,000), Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has transferred the case to the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and Zheng is now behind bars awaiting trial, Xinhua quoted the 21st Century Business Herald as saying.

Former drug chief faces graft trial
Zheng Xiaoyu [cnsphoto/file]
Former drug chief faces graft trial
Zheng's relatives are also being investigated regarding assets worth of millions of yuan for which they could not account, the news agency said.

It added that all of the bribes, which included cash and gifts, came from pharmaceutical companies.

One firm that was named was the Hainan Kongliyuan Group from South China's Hainan Province. The report said it gave Zheng bribes, which included paintings, in return for FDA approvals on 277 medicines, more than 100 of which were granted in 2005. Most of the medicines were antibiotics, which yield high profits.

The heads of the company have also been detained for investigation, the report said.

Zheng, 63, was removed from his post on June 22, 2005. In December 2006, he was accused of taking bribes during his eight years as head of the top drug watchdog. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's foremost disciplinary department, began investigating the case last December.

Xinhua said that clues to Zheng's involvement were discovered during an investigation of his subordinates.

In November, Hao Heping, the former director of the administration's medical equipment department, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for accepting bribes.

Cao Wenzhuang, the former director of the administration's drug registration department, also came under investigation last year.

Both Hao and Cao had previously worked as Zheng's secretary.

Amid a slew of graft cases, the administration has decided to clean its own house by announcing a series of anti-corruption measures and regulations.

It announced last week, for example, that officials were no longer allowed to attend or take part in any banquets, recreational or tourism activities that might influence the fairness of their work. It also banned them from secretly holding shares in pharmaceutical companies in disguise.

The administration also revealed two other regulations that outline what officials should avoid and what they should report last week.

In a move meant to reduce nepotism, the rules first prohibit relatives from working in the same department as one another or being employed as subordinates.

They also demand that the FDA's human resources department keeps a clear record of officials' matrimonial status and familial relationships between staff. All new employees are required to report such relationships on joining the administration.

(China Daily 04/09/2007 page3)

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