Behind short films
Updated: 2012-07-31 15:34
It sounds like a joke but, in fact, is outrageous. Few can imagine spending more than 18 million yuan ($2.82 million) on certain short publicity films. But that is what the Ministry of Railways has done.
The annual auditing by the National Audit Office has found that the ministry failed to invite bids for the films made in 2009-10.
People are shocked by the unimaginable high cost. Most of them smell corruption, and they are right.
A couple working in the ministry were investigated and about 10 million yuan in cash was found in their home. The small project is now suspected of involving kickbacks worth about 7 million yuan.
Prosecutors are now investigating the case.
True, the cultural company, which signed the contract with the ministry to make the films, sought well-known director Zhang Yimou's help and paid him 2.5 million yuan after tax. But still, spending more than 14 million yuan on some short publicity films is ridiculous.
Hopefully, the investigation will answer the following questions.
Since it is next to impossible for short publicity films to cost 18 million yuan, how could people in the ministry's publicity department get the authorities' approval to squander it?
The ministry is supposed to have an internal watchdog to supervise its financial affairs. How could it turn a blind eye to the affair?
State regulations stipulate that a government department must invite public bidding for procurement of goods or services worth than 1.2 million yuan or more. The ministry flouted the rules. Who should be held responsible for that?
The investigation needs to expose every link in the chain that made the deal possible not just to bring the corrupt officials to book, but also to identify the loopholes that allow such counterproductive things to take place.
All central government departments and their local counterparts have their respective budgets. The railway ministry case should serve as a reminder to the central government that the management of the budgets leaves much to be desired.
A small leak can sink a ship. Such corruption, if not effectively dealt with, will undermine people's confidence in the government.