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Death verdict on 'miracle' official

By Li Xinran (Shanghai Daily)

08:56, February 07, 2012

Tang Chengqi, former vice mayor of Jiangxi Province's capital city of Nanchang, pictured in court last August. Tang has been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. (Shanghai Daily Photo)

A ONCE rising bureaucrat, praised for his contributions to an "economic miracle" in east China has been given a suspended death sentence for accepting bribes worth nearly 40 million yuan (US$6.34 million).

The intermediate court of Ganzhou City in Jiangxi Province found Tang Chengqi, former vice mayor of Jiangxi's provincial capital Nanchang, guilty of taking bribes, dereliction of duty and abuse of power and sentenced him to death with a two-year reprieve, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Tang was promoted from a grassroots prosecutor to head of Nanchang's Economic and Technological Development Zone in 2001 and introduced more than US$1 billion of investment to the area in just two years, almost 10 times that of his predecessors over the previous decade.

However, the court found that Tang had received more than 34 million yuan in bribes since he took office.

A prosecutor said Tang had built a fortune worth around 3 million yuan while still a grassroots civil servant.

Tang worked with other officials to set up phony companies to help businessmen illegally win government bids. He also lent them hundreds of millions of yuan from public funds, 280 million of which has never been recovered, to help them to set up factories or buy land. Tang was promoted many times for his "achievements."

Prosecutors told Xinhua that Tang's career in graft began when he accepted a bribe of just 1,000 yuan in his early days.

By the time he was caught he was accepting bribes of up to 10 million yuan.

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