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Governor-turned-professor nabbed in Sichuan
(Shenzhen Daily/Agenices)
Updated: 2005-01-20 13:04

A former vice governor of Sichuan Province has been arrested for allegedly misappropriating 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in public funds.

The arrest of Li Dachang was confirmed earlier this week when the Sichuan Provincial People’s Congress gave provincial prosecutors approval to take “compelling measures” against Li for alleged abuse of power when he was vice governor, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

Li stepped down in 2003 after almost 20 years in politics and returned to his alma mater, the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, to supervise doctorate students. However, he remained a representative of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Congress.

The National Business Daily said Tuesday prosecutors in Sichuan started investigating Li two weeks ago.

The newspaper said that in January 1997 the Ministry of Finance allocated 100 million yuan to the Export-Import Bank of China for the bank to provide five-year loans to the China Sichuan International Cooperation Corporation.

The money was to finance the corporation’s compensation risk fund for an electrical power project in Uganda. But after it arrived in the corporation’s account, Li allegedly approved liberal use of the cash, resulting in large financial losses.

The report linked Li’s arrest with a scandal surrounding Zheng Anka, a senior official convicted of corruption.

Last month, the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Zheng, Sichuan International’s former general manager, to 15 years in jail for embezzlement and bribery.

The court said that in November 1999, during negotiations with the Ugandan partners, Zheng ordered a subordinate, Tang Yan, to withdraw US$30,000 in company funds as “gratitude” fees and handed US$6,000 to the Ugandan representatives. The Huaxi Metropolitan Daily reported Zheng gave Tang US$10,000 and kept the rest for himself.

Li, 62, taught at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics for more than 10 years after graduating in 1981 with a master’s degree from the China Academy of Social Sciences’ World Economics Institute.

He entered political life in the 1980s when he became the deputy mayor of Deyang before rising to deputy director of the Sichuan economic planning commission, and then chief of Sichuan’s Department of Finance. He was Sichuan’s vice governor from 1996 to 2003.

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