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Govt to share more details of probes of officials

Zhang Yan
Updated: Mar 19,2015 7:56 AM     China Daily

The government will notify the public promptly about how it will handle assets confiscated from corrupt officials, according to an annual report on the country’s Rule of Law released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on March 18.

In addition, the report said, when an official is placed under investigation on suspicion of graft, the authorities will share the progress of the probe with the public in a timely manner.

Anti-corruption authorities will publicize what assets have been seized, including cash, houses and securities or other business investments, and how they intend to dispose of any illicitly acquired funds to avoid confusion in accounting.

“The government should consider investing major confiscated assets in social security and other areas involving people’s livelihoods, such as the education and health sectors,” according to the report.

Since November 2012, which saw the rise of new leadership, China has conducted a sweeping drive to fight corruption. To date, 63 high-ranking officials-or “tigers”, in the words of President Xi Jinping-including Zhou Yongkang, former security chief, and Ling Jihua, former minister under the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee, have been probed for suspected “serious discipline violations”. Probes have reached to 31 provinces and regions, with Hubei, Shanxi and Guangdong listed as the top three for the number of senior officials investigated.

Moreover, last year, the top anti-graft watchdog disclosed that 637 low-level officers who abused their offices to gain benefits for others and who accepted bribes valued from 10 to 100 million yuan ($1.6 million to $16 million) were investigated-roughly two officials per day, the report said.

Although the authorities uncovered a large number of corrupt activities, they generally have not disclosed details regarding the amount of ill-gotten assets seized from the officials and how they planned to deal with those items.

A majority of corrupt officials, including senior officials and directors at State-owned companies have abused their powers for personal interest, accepting millions in cash bribes, some of which was transferred abroad through money laundering or underground banks, Li Wei, a lawyer with the Beijing Lawyers Association said.

“The authorities should take effective measures to trace and confiscate the ill-gotten funds, while promptly releasing relevant details to the public to enhance its supervisory role and motivate people to report more valuable clues about corrupt activity,” she said.

To tackle corruption, China is also working to enhance law enforcement cooperation with other countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia, to repatriate officials who are at large abroad and confiscate their illicitly acquired assets.

Figures provided by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate show, since last October, the prosecuting departments have brought back 49 suspects with duty-related crimes from 17 countries and regions, including the US, Japan and Australia.

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