A national security boss in the Ningxia autonomous region has been sacked for using public money to buy and decorate houses, official media reported yesterday. Yu Deyun, head of national security in the impoverished northwestern region, lost his job after the provincial Communist Party's disciplinary inspection committee found him guilty of siphoning off 341,000 yuan (HK$317,000) from public funds to buy three houses, one for himself and two for other security officials in 1998. Mr Yu was also accused of paying a building company 150,000 yuan to decorate them, Xinhua said. The news agency said that the provincial Communist Party Committee had also removed Mr Yu as its deputy secretary. It appeared Mr Yu and the two other unidentified officers would not face criminal charges as they had paid back the money they were said to have spent. Xinhua said Mr Yu's conduct had 'harmed the national interest and sullied the image of cadres in leadership positions, creating very bad effects in society'. Although the party and Government have established stringent rules and codes of conduct for cadres to follow in dispensing benefits such as housing and cars, violations similar to those committed by Mr Yu remain common. In October, the authorities announced a significant rise in salaries of government cadres to improve their living standards and revive the sagging economy. The increases came after officials and economists voiced concern that the austere benefits provided for cadres had helped breed corruption.