Shenzhen hospital chiefs charged with pocketing millions in bribes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2012, 2:41am

Shenzhen prosecutors have filed formal charges against eight senior hospital executives for taking bribes in the procurement of goods, such as medical equipment and medicine.

The charges stem from a high-profile campaign against commercial corruption in Guangdong from April to June. The operation saw 43 people investigated in connection with 31 instances of bribery, according to a statement issued online by city prosecutors.

Charges were also filed against a local medical equipment provider and one of its board members in connection with offering bribes, while seven companies and 19 of their employees were also investigated. The remaining 24 people were from hospitals, and additional charges may be filed later.

The recently appointed party chief of the Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital is accused of taking about 1.5 million yuan (HK$1.83 million) in bribes - the most among the eight executives - between 2004 and this year when he worked as director of the Shenzhen Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital, the China Youth Daily reported. Prosecutors say the executive took 1.1 million yuan from a medical equipment provider to help the firm secure bids at his hospital and pocketed HK$400,000 and US$8,000 from a Hong Kong-based medical equipment dealer in exchange for buying 10 million yuan worth of ultrasound equipment from the firm.

In a similar case, prosecutors claim the deputy director of the Shenzhen Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital received 1.2 million yuan last year from a Shenzhen-based equipment seller. The China Youth Daily said the deputy had been offered bribes since 2005.

The companies accused of bribery in the two cases will be prosecuted separately, though charges have not yet been filed.

Both executives reportedly returned the money.

Investigators conceded taking bribes for medical purchases was so prevalent it had become almost an unspoken perk of the job, the Legal Daily reported. All the hospitals probed were found to be involved in such bribes.

China Business News reported Guangdong is mulling reforming the procurement process by setting uniform standards for purchasing medical equipment at state-run hospitals.