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Homes scandal official under investigation

THE Party disciplinary authority in Zhejiang Province is investigating a retired official for negligence and misconduct in a housing purchase scandal.

The scandal came to light after a bulletin board published a list that named government staff who had bought apartments reserved for relocated residents.

Wu Quanshu, 62, the former deputy director of the Old House Renovation Headquarters in the city of Wenzhou, has been placed under "double designation" status, while other officials from the headquarters are also being investigated, according to the city's Commission of Discipline Inspection, Xinhua news agency reported today.

"Double designation" is a special investigative procedure under which a Party official is ordered to explain allegations of disciplinary violations or corruption at a designated time and place.

Wu was appointed as deputy director of the headquarters in 2005, when 143 apartments built as resettlement homes for people were sold to government officials without permission. He retired in 2008.

The allegations came after a post on a local bulletin board that attached a list claiming 49 staff from the renovation headquarters and 94 from "related government departments" had bought 143 apartments at prices lower than the market price.

Wu himself was on the list as having bought an apartment of 179 square meters.

The headquarters claimed the sales were to ease the cash shortages in the construction of the resettlement homes and were left over properties after the relocations.

One resident who has moved into a relocation apartment told a newspaper that he was moved from his old house in 2000 but could only relocate to his new apartment in 2007. ??The resident said some of his old neighbors were still waiting for their new homes.


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