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November 16, 2009

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Cash missing in school charity

AN inquiry has been launched into a sponsorship scheme to help up to 50,000 poor students after a Ningbo man discovered that his donations hadn't reached two students in southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Ningbo resident Zhang Xiaotu was one sponsor in eastern China's Zhejiang Province who found the money he had been sending had never reached the two girls he agreed to put through school in Guizhou's Wangmo County, the Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday.

A staff member named Huang Shimei from Wangmo poverty alleviation office is under investigation for allegedly intercepting money to sponsored students, the report said. A task force in charge of the investigation went to Wangmo's post office on Friday to collect receipts for postal orders sent to students dating back to 2006.

Evidence discovered so far showed that the charity sponsorship could have been misused, the report said.

Zhang signed up to sponsor students Luo Mian and Cheng Guangli from Wangmo's Daguan Township from 2006 and sent the money to their elementary school every year.

Luo received money from Zhang in 2006 and 2007 but Cheng only received money in 2006, the report said. Zhang raised the amount of his sponsorship from 150 yuan (US$21.97) to 200 yuan annually last year, and sent 300 yuan extra on August 14 to pay for Luo's admittance to high school.

Luo's father reportedly told Zhang that the money had been received by Huang, according to the postal register.

Huang is being probed for allegedly misusing 6,400 yuan from a sponsor surnamed Zhu, according to a Wangmo disciplinary official surnamed Chen.

As yet no one has any idea how much money was missing, the report said.

"We'll publish the result as soon as possible because we have a duty to the sponsors," Chen said.

According to Han Qingliang, an official at the poverty alleviation office in Zhejiang's Yuyao City, some money sent to post offices was first collected by poverty alleviation officials and then passed on to students in remote areas, because there were no post offices near them.


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