Anti-graft probe into reception spending

Updated: 2011-09-16 07:19

By Yan Jie (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The anti-corruption watchdog in Hubei province says it is looking into claims that a county wasted huge amounts of public funds on receptions for provincial inspections official.

According to media reports, Zigui county run up a bill of 800,000 yuan ($125,000) while entertaining a group of eight officials from April 11 to May 9 this year. The group was allegedly also given cell phones and tablet PCs as gifts.

The public has reacted angrily to the accusations, particularly as the county is regarded one of the poorest in China. Its annual per capita net income for rural residents was 3,497 yuan in 2010.

The matter is now under investigation, according to an official at the provincial discipline inspection commission who did not want to be identified. If inspection officials are found to have been sightseeing during work time, they will be punished, he added.

The Party committee of Zigui admitted the 800,000-yuan bill existed but insisted only a fraction was used for receptions. About 114,000 yuan went toward accommodation, food and assistance in surveying neighboring counties, the committee said in an online statement.

The rest was spent on receptions for superior officials and guests of the local government, as well as new office appliances and drinks ordering, the statement added.

Zheng Zhiwen, director of publicity for Zigui's Party committee, denied the county bought officials tablet PCs as gifts, telling People's Daily that some items on the bill, such as printers, were purchased for the Party committee's office, not the inspection officials.

A director of the provincial inspection office surnamed Xiao told China Youth Daily the inspection team's visit cost the county more than 100,000 yuan. The officials had acted in accordance with regulations, he added.

Zhou Lihua contributed to this story.