Budget officer sets pace in corruption

The Guangdong provincial procuratorate investigated more than 1,600 corruption cases last year, involving more than 1,900 individuals engaged an assortment of malfeasance ranging from smuggling, bribery, taxation and currency fraud, to dereliction of duty.

Guangdong procurator-general Zhang Xuejun, giving his report yesterday to the annual provincial people's congress, said 1,414 of the cases involved at least 50,000 yuan (about HK$46,500), with 139 of the cases involving more than one million yuan.

Among the largest cases prosecuted was that of Luo Bin, a Foshan City district budget officer, who pocketed 156 million yuan in the course of his work.

Also arrested and imprisoned was Wang Zhaocai, director of Dongguan's anti-smuggling office, who was sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes valued at 950,000 yuan and $130,000 between April 1996 and May 1998.

One hundred and thirty dereliction cases were uncovered, involving 180 officials. They included the case of Chen Yongan, jailed for seven years for his part in allowing the collapse of an embankment in Nanhai City during last summer's floods.

As a result, 153 square kilometres were flooded with direct losses put at 2.3 billion yuan.

Although not mentioned by Mr Zhang, it is also understood that Huang Yantian, former general manager of Guangdong International Trust & Investment Corp, is also being investigated for his part in the collapse of the provincial investment company.