left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Accounts used by officials to cover up bribes are eliminated

Updated: 2016-08-10 07:38
(China Daily/Xinhua)

Following the implementation in January of harsher rules against bribes and gifts, provincial governments are abolishing special accounts that have been misused by officials to hide ill-gotten gains.

In August, the Guizhou government joined at least three other provinces in canceling a special bank account that officials had used to deposit money and remain under the radar of graft investigators, said Huang Wensheng, a senior official of the Guizhou provincial Discipline Inspection Committee.

The first "clean governance accounts" were established in the 1990s to reduce corruption while protecting the privacy of officials. Over a dozen provincial-level governments had established such accounts. Sichuan and Gansu province, as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, recently eliminated them.

Usually, the accounts are managed by the local discipline inspection authorities and banks. The names of the depositor and the sum are not disclosed, and the money is turned over to the local treasury.

Zhuang Deshui, a professor at Peking University, explained that the accounts were designed as an outlet for officials who are remorseful.

"However, some officials have misused the service," Huang said.

"Many officials use the account as an umbrella or safe haven. For example, some corrupt officials only deposit bribes when they face an investigation," he said.

Hong Jinzhou, former mayor of Kaili in Guizhou, stood trial for accepting bribes last year. He was found to have accepted bribes on more than 380 occasions and had attempted to cover up his misdeeds by periodically depositing funds, amounting to over 55 million yuan ($8.3 million), in the clean governance fund.

"Many people have used the accounts to obstruct investigations," said Tang Yonghu, a discipline official in Tongren, Guizhou.

"These accounts have created more problems than they have solved," he said.

The cancellation of the accounts marks an even harsher crackdown on corruption and is in line with Party regulations.

Starting in January this year, a revised regulation issued by the Communist Party of China Central Committee banned officials from accepting gifts, money or gift cards.

According to the Guizhou regulation, officials must resolutely turn down any kind of money that may obstruct their duty.

If accepting the bribe is unavoidable, then it must be returned as soon as possible within the one-month deadline, it said.

If all means of returning the money have been exhausted, the money must be deposited with the discipline inspection authority along with the names of those involved, according to the regulation.

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.