China to fight graft in construction sector

Updated: 2012-06-07 09:20


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NANCHANG - China is now eying building standardized "public resources trading markets" as an effective tool in a renewed fight against graft in the scandal-plagued construction sector.

He Yong, deputy secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), called for accelerated building of unified and standardized "public resources trading markets" to improve the efficiency and quality of resource allocation, at a two-day national conference which began Monday in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province.

The "public resources trading markets" should feature centralized trading, standardized operation, and should be governed and run separately, He said.

The markets should give full play to their fundamental role of allocating public resources, he said.

The central government has been pushing forward the building of such markets, as they are believed to be vital to ensuring the transparency and fairness of the bidding process of key construction sectors and prevent power-for-money deals.

So far, 730 standardized public resources trading markets have been built at or above county-level nationwide, including eight at the provincial-level, figures from the conference showed.

Corruption can occur in all links in the chain of a construction project, from land use approval to project management, public bidding and construction material purchase.

About 16,700 people have been punished for disciplinary violations linked to construction projects since a two-year national campaign to clean up the construction sector was launched in 2009, according to a statement from the national conference.

The rule breakers, who received Communist Party's disciplinary penalties, were implicated in about 22,200 cases of corruption, according to the statement.

Among them, 90 are prefecture-level officials while another 1,585 are county-level officials. Some 8,824 of them have been referred to judicial authorities.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee decided in July 2009 to launch a two-year campaign to tackle corruption in the construction sector.

As of April this year, central inspection teams had probed more than 100,000 construction projects and more than 30,000 cases have been rectified.

They also conducted sample inspections on 123 projects in key fields such as land and water resources, public transportation, railway, and municipal construction and rectified 325 disciplinary violations in the course.

Minister of Railways Sheng Guangzu, said at the same conference, that the ministry would allow bids for its foreign-funded projects and specialized equipments such as vehicles to enter local public resources trading markets by the end of this year.

The ministry had vowed previously to open bids for railway contracts to local markets in an effort to reform its bidding management and to fight graft.

All railway-related projects should enter "local public resources trading markets" in accordance with authorization or the location of the projects, according to a document released by the ministry last month.

So far, 21 large and medium-sized construction projects, under the administration of the railways ministry construction projects, were looked after by the Beijing Engineering Construction Trading Center, and involved a total trading volume of 2.65 billion yuan ($416.37 million).

Railway project bidding had been harshly criticized by the public after two high-speed trains crashed into each other in Zhejiang province, resulting in 43 deaths and injuring more than 200 other people last July.

According to investigation results announced last December, malpractice and illegal contracts were found in the bidding process administered by the Ministry of Railways and its subordinate bureaus, which resulted in the failure of a train control system that had never undergone field testing before launch.

Jiao Yong, Vice Minister of Water Resources, also announced at the conference, that the ministry had decided all its large and medium-sized construction projects or those involving a total investment of more than 30 million yuan will enter the public resources trading markets from 2013.

And the rest of the ministry's construction projects will enter the market by July next year, according to Jiao.