County officials sacked for quake relief fund misuse, illegal property project

08:49, June 03, 2011      

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Three officials in a Sichuan Province county have been removed from their posts over the misuse of 81.68 million yuan (12.57 million U.S. dollars) of post-quake reconstruction funds and the construction of an illegal real estate project.

Huang Haiyan, deputy chief of the Santai county government office, He Yong, director of the local water authority and Tu Qingguo, deputy director of the same local water authority have all been removed from their positions, the National Audit Office (NAO) said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the NAO, quake relief money was channeled to a subsidiary real estate company of the Mianyang Hongda Assets Investment Management Group (Hongda) to increase its registered capital in January of last year.

Although the funds were eventually invested in some reconstruction projects, such as repairs for the county's government office building, the falsified capital injection has violated national regulations, the NAO said.

Hongda also launched a real estate project near a levee of the Fuhe and Kaihe rivers. The project does not involve any misuse of post-quake reconstruction funds, but it does violate China's Flood Control Law and relevant regulations, the statement said.

According to NAO, the illegal buildings near the levee have been demolished.

The cases were first exposed in a report by China Central Television and later became a hot topic among Chinese netizens. According to the report, Hongda is administered by the Santai County government and most of the company's profits last year came from real estate development.

The NAO said it will pay more attention to netizens' opinions and vowed to improve its audits of post-quake reconstruction funds.

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