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Prosecuters zero in on corruption
( 2004-01-20 08:50) (China Daily by Liang Yu)

Shanghai's procura-torates plan to tighten their crackdown on crimes by government officials, said a senior prosecutor.

The focus of local procuratorial organs will be on power-for-money crimes, said Zou Chuanji, deputy procurator-general of the Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate, at a news conference on Saturday.

Cases will include those involving officials at the deputy department chief level or above, as well as cases of embezzlement, graft and illegal parcelling of State-owned assets.

Investigations will be stepped up, targeting crimes by officials in areas like finance, real estate, construction project bidding, land-use rights acquisition and materials procurement, said Zou.

The fight on corruption will extend to cases that "harm people's interests," especially at loss-burdened State-owned enterprises (SOEs), where public property is embezzled.

Local procuratorates will also pay attention to corruption cases involving grass-roots administrative officials, including those from the countryside governmental organizations.

And law enforcement officials or judicial personnel who are derelict in their duty or bend the system for bribes will not be exempt, said Zou.

"We will soon set up an investigation headquarters so that we can handle serious cases in a more co-ordinated way," Zou said,

Official statistics show that about 340 indictments on crimes by officials were filed by local procuratorates last year.

More than 300 were defined as serious graft and bribery cases - each case involving at least 50,000 yuan (US$6,000) - as well as significant embezzlement cases, with each involving at least 100,000 yuan (US$12,000).

The figure of such serious cases is about 4 per cent higher than the previous year. While about 70 officials at the deputy department chief level or above were convicted or sentenced during the time, nearly 240 cases - or 70 per cent of the total - were found at local SOEs.

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