Official's eight-year trail of corruption

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am


Details have emerged about the corruption case against a former senior official in Inner Mongolia who was jailed for life this month for taking more than 8.17 million yuan (HK$10 million) in bribes over eight years.

The Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court jailed Liu Zhuozhi after convicting him of 86 counts of bribery on July 2. He has not appealed against his conviction, The Beijing News reported yesterday.

The prosecutor said Liu accepted bribes between 2002 and 2010, when he was, in succession, head of the Xilingol League government, league Communist Party head and vice-chairman of the autonomous region's government.

The report said Liu's corruption started in July 2002 when a local company paid him about 200,000 yuan for help with its mining projects.

Liu had taken bribes from dozens of officials and companies in return for approving businesses, endorsing land and mining contracts and helping officials get promotions.

In recent years, the rush to mine Xilingol's abundant minerals resources - ranging from copper to rare earths - has scarred its hills, desiccated its pastures and fuelled unrest among Mongol herders. Environmental activists had accused Liu of involvement in the illegal occupation of land for mining, leading to the contamination of nearby grasslands.

The prosecutor said cash-for-promotion cases had been rampant for years, with Liu peddling his influence among government cadres.

More than a dozen local officials paid Liu to advance their careers. Between 2003 and 2008, Niu Zhimei, the former head of the Development and Reform Commission of Xilinhot , the capital of Xilingol League, paid Liu 640,000 yuan for his eventual promotion to local party head, while Jia Chenglin, an official in Xilinhot's urban-rural planning department, was promoted to department head after paying Liu 650,000 yuan. Several of Liu's former subordinates have also been arrested.

The court deprived Liu of his political rights for life and confiscated all his personal assets. The court said Liu was given a lighter penalty because he had returned all of the money and confessed his crimes.