China probes 32 minister-level officials for graft

Beijing, Oct 22 (IANS) At least 32 ministerial-level officials in China were investigated for corruption from January 2008 to August 2013, a report from the Supreme People's Procuratorate released Tuesday said.

About 13,300 of the 198,781 people investigated in graft cases during the period were officials at the county level and above, said Cao Jianming, procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, reported Xinhua.

Coa made the comments while delivering the report on the Procuratorate's work against embezzlement and bribery at the ongoing bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

At least 167,000 people were prosecuted under embezzlement and bribery charges while 148,931 were convicted by courts during the period, Cao said.

A total of 65,629 civil servants have been investigated for taking bribes while 23,246 people were probed for handing bribes, Cao said.

The number of people convicted for taking bribes from 2008 to 2012 increased by 19.5 percent over the period from 2003 to 2007, while the number of those convicted of handing bribes increased by 60.4 percent, the report said.

Of the 151,000 graft cases investigated in the past five years, about 4,800 cases involved bribes of at least 1 million yuan ($161,000) or embezzlement of at least 10 million yuan, the report added.

China's anti-corruption agencies have paid special attention to important and vulnerable sectors in the country's economic development, such as land use, property transactions, pharmaceutical sales, government purchases and public infrastructure projects, Cao said.

The agencies also looked into embezzlement and bribery related to food safety, education, social security, health care, poverty reduction and environmental protection, which are areas the public cares about most, he added.

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