Rule calls for compensation money to be set aside

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am

Governments at each administrative level will have to set aside money in their budgets for compensation to citizens aggrieved by the state under a regulation proposed yesterday for public consultation.

The proposed State Council regulation is the latest attempt to strengthen a compensation system on the mainland that has been much criticised as toothless.

Under the rule, which would be a supplement to the newly amended State Compensation Law, a finance department would be required to pay out within 15 days of receiving a request from concerned government departments.

The government department concerned would first issue compensation to aggrieved citizens and then seek reimbursement from the concerned cadres in their departments.

The proposal also set out detailed guidelines on how much reimbursement the government could seek from individuals responsible for causing the grief.

For example, if the fault was deliberate or made during criminal proceedings, the concerned individual must reimburse 70 to 100 per cent of the state compensation amount, to a maximum of twice the individual's annual salary.

If the mistake was unintentional, one must reimburse 50 to 100 per cent of the compensation amount but not more than one year's salary.

The introduction of this reimbursement requirement may alleviate partly the public's concerns that taxpayers are held responsible to pay for wrongful acts of the state.

However, some analysts pointed out yesterday that the mechanism of how a government department could seek reimbursement was unspecified.

The on-paper salaries of civil servants in the country are also notoriously low, making the amount of reimbursement they could cough up questionable.