Four cadres jailed for graft over earthquake

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 October, 2010, 12:00am

A Zhejiang court sentenced four town cadres to up to 16 years in prison for embezzling donations for Sichuan earthquake victims.

Xinhua said the embezzlement had taken place after a fund-raiser for victims of the magnitude-8 earthquake on May 12, 2008, which left nearly 88,000 people dead, most in the southwestern province.

Sun Shuirong - head of the military department in Zhili town, which is under Huzhou's jurisdiction - was in charge of the fund-raising from May 15 to 17.

However, Sun colluded with town civil service head Chen Guorong and two other cadres under Chen's supervision to divide 620,000 yuan (HK$722,700) of relief funds.

At a retrial, the Huzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court sentenced Sun and Chen to 16 years in prison each for embezzling 200,000 yuan from quake relief funds, and Chen's deputy, Shen Meiying, who had accepted 110,000 yuan in bribes, to 131/2 years, Xinhua said.

Town financial head Wei Zhugeng was sentenced to 121/2 years for embezzling 110,000 yuan.

The first verdict was announced in April, but the four defendants claimed their confessions had been extracted by torture and petitioned for a retrial.

However, the retrial reduced Chen's sentence from only 17 years to 16 years, and those of the others remained the same.

All their political rights were revoked and their personal property confiscated.