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October 10, 2011

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Official accused in bribery case

A village official in the city was arrested for allegedly taking bribes worth more than 600,000 yuan (US$94,051) when he was in charge of relocation projects in the village, city prosecutors said yesterday.

The suspect, surnamed Zhang, was Party secretary of a village in Gucun Town. Between January 2005 and December 2006, Zhang took advantage of his position to arrange relocation funds and accept money and goods from companies and individuals, prosecutors said.

Zhang is one of many officials in the town to be charged with graft for their misconduct in land leasing, resident relocation or construction project subcontracting.

The number of cases involving village officials has been on the rise, with 18 cases handled since 2009, prosecutors said.

Among the 18 suspects, eight were responsible for relocation projects, construction projects and economic development in the village, which generated remarkable profits for the village.

Shao Yizu, an official from the city prosecutors office, said land leasing has become a major financial boon for villagers, as more and more large enterprises move from downtown to rural areas. But it is village officials who have the power to decide how to use the land and how to allocate compensation and funds for relocation and construction.

"That large sums of money were poured into the village for investment has led to the corruption and bribery crimes of village officials," said Shao with the prosecutors office.

Investigation by prosecutors found that most villages in suburban areas lacked monitoring systems on their officials, since most suspects were local villagers who held their positions for many years. In one case, an official surnamed Chen in Chongming County was on his job for 14 years, during which prosecutors said he embezzled 460,000 yuan.

Wang Miaoxing, a village official in Putuo District, was sentenced to life in prison last November for taking bribes in real estate and other projects.

The bribes he received exceeded 100 million yuan.


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