Xinjiang vice-chairman investigated for embezzlement

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 November, 2003, 12:00am

A vice-chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is under investigation for alleged embezzlement believed to top 100 million yuan (HK$93.8 million), official media have reported.

The Business Post reported Aman Haji, who used to be director of the Xinjiang Transportation and Communication Bureau, was being held by anti-graft investigators from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing.

The 53-year-old ethnic Uygur is the highest-ranking official from Xinjiang to have been linked to corruption. The case is said to be tied to the recent disappearance of a Xinjiang tycoon whose company was being investigated for financial improprieties.

Quoting unnamed Xinjiang government officials, the newspaper said central government authorities had notified the autonomous region government last month of the decision without providing any other details.

Mr Haji was last seen in September when he attended the ground-breaking ceremony for a construction project.

The report said there had been no official announcement of Mr Haji's case because the investigation was still going on. However, it said his alleged corruption had long been an open secret and that authorities had seized millions of yuan in cash in a raid on his office.

A finance source was quoted by the China Economic Daily as saying that Mr Haji's case was linked to the disappearance of Aikelamu Aishayoufu, chairman of Xinjiang Hops, the mainland's biggest beer hops and barley supplier.

Authorities are currently investigating the company for 988 million yuan in hidden liabilities. Mr Aishayoufu is believed to have fled to the Middle-East.

Mr Haji, the son of a senior Xinjiang official, was selected in January as one of Xinjiang's nine vice-chairmen after spending 30 years rising to the top of the transport and communication bureaucracy.