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Shanghai lawmakers will supervise land sales
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08:51, February 27, 2008

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The standing committee of the Shanghai municipal people's congress will place land sales under its direct supervision from this year, following a slew of high-profile corruption cases in the city over the past two years.

In its 2008 action plan approved on Monday, the city's legislative body decided to take on the supervision of the trade, budget, use of proceeds and development of a mechanism involving State-owned land.

The move is said to be the first time the city has put the supervision of land sales in the hands of the legislature.

A meeting has been scheduled to review the audits of land trading last year, the planning of a budget for this year and the establishing of a regulatory mechanism, officials said.

Yao Mingbao, secretary of the standing committee, said the group made the decision after hearing proposals from committee members as well as from the public.

During the annual session of Shanghai municipal people's congress held at the end of last month, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng also announced that the government was planning to report the management of income from land sales to the committee and to the public.

The standing committee's latest decision comes in the wake of a string of graft cases involving top officials.

Last month, Yin Guoyuan, former deputy director of the Shanghai municipal housing, land and resources administration bureau, was charged with taking bribes and possessing properties that he could not account for.

Yin was said to have taken advantage of his post to gain benefits for others and receive cash, company shares, a house and car, allegedly worth more than 40 million yuan ($5.6 million) in total.

Prior to Yin's case, Zhu Wenjin, head of a division in the bureau in charge of approving land sales, was arrested for taking bribes and approving illegal land acquisition. He was jailed for 15 years in September for his crimes.

Kang Huijun, former vice-governor of Shanghai's Pudong district, was stripped of his post at the end of last year for his involvement in illegal land trading.

According to Caijing magazine, five other officials with the land bureau have also recently been detained.

An anti-corruption drive which was launched in mid-2006, had seen investigations into an embezzlement case involving more than 3 billion yuan from the city's social security fund.

It has resulted in more than two dozen senior officials, including Party secretary Chen Liangyu and the heads of State-owned enterprises, being sacked.

Mayor Han said on Jan 23 at the Shanghai's people's congress that corruption in some government departments has seriously affected the city's development.

He vowed for the systematic supervision of key areas - including construction, land and property rights transaction, government purchases, pharmaceutical trading and fund supervision - to be established.

"We will carry out the strictest possible land management system," he said.

Source: China Daily

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