Saturday, July 21, 2007

China: School administrators given corruption lesson in court

School administrators given corruption lesson in court
20/7/2007 9:27 Xinhua

China's school administrators have been given a lesson in commercial corruption, which revealed "kickbacks" is the term to learn when it comes to publishing English textbooks.
The Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday that it had dealt with 577 cases of commercial corruption involving schools and universities in the past six years.
The corruption extended to 657 people, 414 of whom faced criminal prosecution, involved a total sum of 70 million yuan (US$9.22 million).
In most cases, the accused took kickbacks from textbook stores or publishers, producers of school instruments and suppliers of daily items to students, the ministry said.
Some were also bribed by companies tendering for construction projects at schools, it added.
According to earlier reports, 109 of the 115 colleges and universities in east China's Jiangsu Province were involved in commercial bribery.
Last year, Jiangsu's prosecutors, after two years of investigations, identified about 20 million yuan (US$2.63 million) in illegal earnings by college officials as kickbacks from publishing houses or bookstores.
Textbooks were sold to students at the cover prices, but schools usually got kickbacks worth 15 to 25 percent of the price from bookstores and even took 35 percent if the books came directly from publishers.
English textbooks were the most "lucrative", as the language was a compulsory course at college and many students wanted to improve their language skills.
Each student usually bought at least 200 yuan (US$26.3) of English textbooks at college and Jiangsu had about 1.2million college students. If schools took a 15-percent kickback, they would get up to 36 million yuan (US$4.7 million), Wu Jianchun, deputy head of the Jianye District People's Procuratorate, Nanjing City, was quoted as saying.
Schools were forced to tighten supervision of their purchasing departments and improve accounting systems, the ministry said.
The government launched a sustained drive against commercial corruption in the public sector in 2006.
Last year prosecutors investigated 9,582 commercial corruption cases involving 1.5 billion yuan (US$195 million) in illicit earnings.
The China Banking Regulatory Commission revealed Wednesday that it found 17.66 million yuan (US$2.33 million) implicated in commercial corruption in banks and financial institutions.
Last week the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council announced 76 commercial corruption cases involving large state-owned enterprises and about 18 million yuan (US$2.4 million).

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