SASAC head latest target in graft probe
Updated: 2013-09-02 00:49
By An Baijie and Du Juan (China Daily)
Move 'reflects enhanced crackdown on corruption in monopoly sectors'
Authorities are investigating the head of the State assets regulator for "serious discipline violations", the top discipline watchdog said on Sunday.
Jiang Jiemin, chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, or SASAC, is being probed for "grave discipline violations", a term that generally refers to corruption, according to a statement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party of China's graft-fighting watchdog.
The duties of SASAC include supervising and managing State-owned assets, guiding and pushing forward the reform and restructuring of State-owned enterprises, and appointing and removing top executives of supervised enterprises, according to the SASAC website.
Experts said the recent concentrated probes on officials and executives related to the energy sector show the country's stepped-up crackdown on corruption in State-owned monopoly industries.
No details were given about the probe.
Jiang, born in October 1955, is the first member of the 18th CPC Central Committee to be investigated for corruption.
The committee, elected in November, has 205 members, including the seven members of the top ruling Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
Jiang is also the first chairman of SASAC to be investigated since it was established a decade ago. He was nominated as SASAC chairman in March after the annual session of the National People's Congress.
On Sunday, Jiang was still listed as chairman of SASAC on the commission's website. He is a senior economist, according to his introduction on the site.
His last official activity was listed as Aug 27, when he inspected the Aviation Industry Corp of China.
The publicity department of SASAC refused to comment on the issue when contacted by China Daily on Sunday.
Before being nominated as SASAC chairman, Jiang was chairman of the China National Petroleum Corp, the country's leading oil and gas producer.
A source close to CNPC said the investigation of Jiang is related to alleged graft when he was head of the company.
The source said that during Jiang's reign at CNPC, several oilfields with bad assets were contracted to foreign or private companies, which involved ill-gotten payouts.
"During that time, some officials at CNPC also were heads of some related private companies, which provided room for corruption," said the source.
Jiang worked in the petroleum industry from December 1972 to June 2000, and from April 2004 to March 2013. He was deputy governor of Qinghai province from June 2000 to April 2004.
The probe follows the investigation of four senior petroleum managers last week.
Wang Yongchun, deputy general manager of CNPC, was investigated for "grave discipline violations", the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on Aug 26.
The company announced on Thursday that it has decided to remove its four senior executives, including Wang, from their posts.
The other three executives are Li Hualin, deputy general manager of the CNPC, Ran Xinquan, vice-president of PetroChina and Wang Daofu, chief geologist of PetroChina.
The company vowed to support the crackdown on corruption and ensure normal production order, according to a notice issued on Thursday.
Caixin.com reported on Sunday that the investigation of the four petroleum officials was triggered by the audit on Jiang's departure from the company, citing a source close to some senior officials.
According to current rules, the chairman of State-owned enterprises must be audited when obtaining and leaving a post.
Jiang Ming'an, a law professor at Peking University, said State-owned monopoly giants like CNPC must receive enhanced supervision since such enterprises have tens of billions of yuan in assets, providing numerous chances for corruption.
"Government departments at different levels have already been required to disclose their information to the public, but there is no compulsory rule requiring State-owned companies to do so," he said.
Monopoly giants in the petroleum, telecommunications and banking industries have accumulated wealth through their monopoly advantages, he added.
Apart from Jiang Jiemin, many other ministerial-level officials have been investigated on allegations of corruption since the CPC held its 18th national congress last November.
Liu Tienan, former vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, was expelled from the Party and handed over to judicial authorities for further investigation, it was announced on Aug 8.
Bao Chang contributed to this story.