Sharp increase in work-related graft probes seen

By AN BAIJIE (China Daily)
Updated: 2014-03-11 02:22

The number of officials probed for work-related crimes soared by 41.3 percent at the city level and 60 percent at provincial level last year, according to the top procuratorate.

A total of 253 city-level officials and eight provincial-level officials were investigated last year by prosecutors for embezzlement, bribery and abuse of public funds, Cao Jianming, the procurator-general, told lawmakers on Monday during the annual session of the National People's Congress.

In 2012, there were 179 officials at city level and five at provincial level investigated by the prosecutors, according to official data released last year.

China's procuratorates probed a total of 51,306 officials in 37,551 work-related cases last year, with a year-on-year increase of 8.4 and 9.4 percent respectively, Cao said in an annual work report of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Among the work-related crimes, 2,581 cases of graft, bribery, and embezzlement of public funds involved more than 1 million yuan ($163,300), Cao said.

Last year, judicial authorities arrested 762 people suspected of work-related crimes who had been on the run, with illegal gains worth 10.14 billion yuan retrieved, according to Cao.

A total of 210 prosecutors were punished last year for violating laws as part of an ongoing campaign to "eradicate the black sheep" from among the judicial staff, Cao said. The offenders had been publicly named and shamed to "sound the alarm" for their fellow prosecutors, he said.

The procuratorates brought criminal charges against 5,515 people for offering bribes, an increase of 18.6 percent on 2012. According to Cao, records are being kept in the procuratorates' archive system detailing those companies that have offered bribes, and those companies with bad records will have difficulty in accessing markets.

Prosecutors have enhanced the investigation of business crimes, with 4,549 officials probed for suspected business-related bribery last year, Cao said.

A total of 1,066 officials were probed for dereliction of duty and accepting bribes in 685 cases involving workplace accidents, including fires and coalmine blasts last year.

The procuratorates will enhance the punishment of serious economic crimes this year and prevent work-related crimes that concern public funds, State assets and national resources, Cao said.

Zhou Qiang, China's chief justice, told the lawmakers that the courts have tried 29,000 cases of embezzlement, bribery and dereliction of duty by government officials last year, convicting 31,000 civil servants, including former senior official Bo Xilai and former minister of railways Liu Zhijun.

A total of 381 court policemen were investigated last year for violations of discipline and law relating to the abuse of law-enforcement powers, Zhou said.

An earlier report also said that 31 senior officials directly managed by the CPC Central Committee were investigated by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in 2013. Nationwide, about 182,000 officials were punished by the CPC's internal disciplinary body.

Zhu Zhengxu, a judge with Baofeng county in Central China's Henan province and also a deputy to the NPC, said that the investigation of senior corrupt officials is expected by the people. The government should continue to boost transparency in order to prevent government officials from committing work-related crimes, she said.