Bribery probe into Three Gorges leaders under way

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 1:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 1:33am

The mainland government's corruption inspectors have passed on evidence against some leaders of China Three Gorges, the operator of the world's largest dam, to the anti-graft watchdog and some analysts say they could face discipline or prosecution for corruption.

The evidence was handed over to the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the commission said on its website.

"The leaders will be investigated and punished by party discipline and very likely will be prosecuted," said Zhu Jiangnan, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong specialising in China studies. "The current investigation focuses on a large [state-owned enterprise], indicating the current anti-corruption drive aims at fighting corruption in a wide range of sectors."

Company chairman Cao Guangjing admitted there were problems, saying his company would "earnestly and humbly" address them.

On Monday, a government inspection group told China Three Gorges of problems with the firm's leadership without naming anybody, the commission and the company said.

Some associates of China Three Gorges officials were involved in secretly bidding for the company's projects, said Hou Kai, the head of the inspection group. Other top executives own several properties, which is against regulations, bought too many cars and sit in excessively large offices.

Decision-making at the firm was improper and opaque, with critical matters not brought up in meetings and decisions hastily made without preparation, Hou added.

Daniel Roules, a Shanghai-based partner at US law firm Squire Sanders, said one factor in the prosecution of corruption cases was that officials "cannot explain the origins of their assets including properties".