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China fights rampant graft in infrastructure projects


16:27, October 18, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Despite persistent campaigns in recent years and tough penalties, China's anti-graft agencies have warned that corruption in infrastructure projects remains a significant problem.

Last week, Wu Rijing, a former chairman and general manager of the state-owned Guangdong Xinguang International Group, stood trial at a local court in Guangdong province for charges of taking 26.4 million yuan (4.14 million U.S. dollars) in bribes, offering bribes worth 1.08 million, and embezzling more than 46.8 million yuan of public money.

Prosecutors say all his crimes occurred when Wu was in charge of subcontracting construction projects between 2006 to 2008.

Over the first eight months of this year, about 6,800 officials have been prosecuted for corruption in infrastructure projects across the country, according to last month's statement from the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the country's key anti-graft agency.

Local prosecutors, closely involved in corruption investigations, discovered that bribery has become a regular part in many contractors' budget as "public relations expenses."

"In most cases, bribes might take up 5 to 10 percent of the total cost of a project," said a city prosecutor in Jiangxi province who asked to remain anonymous.

A bribe may top 1 million yuan if a project is estimated to cost 20 million yuan, he said.

Given that the nation has spent a huge amount of money on infrastructure development in recent years, the amount of money implicated in graft cases has notably increased.

In a nationwide campaign from Sept. 2009 to March, prosecutors uncovered graft cases in this sector involving more than 2.99 billion yuan, according to the Ministry of Supervision.

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