Feb 12, 2015 04:40 PM

Environment Officials 'Found Profiting from Project Checks'

(Beijing) – Environmental officials have been found profiting from their work assessing the impact of building projects, the Communist Party's graft buster says on its website.

A special team sent by the party's 205-member Central Committee investigated the Ministry of Environmental Protection from November 26 to December 26. Some officials or their relatives were found to be running companies that profited by handling environmental impact assessments, Ji Lin, the team leader, said in the notice published on February 10 on the Central Discipline Inspection Commission's (CDIC) website.

Environmental protection authorities were not strictly following rules when approving projects and were not performing required follow-up supervision, problems that could lead to pollution and more corruption, said Ji.

Because of these problems, builders have been able to start projects without the approval of environmental protection authorities or make unauthorized changes of the projects, Ji said.

Companies could buy project approvals and local environmental bureaus were found to be taking money out of funds intended to handle water pollution control, he said.

The inspection team gave the evidence it gathered to the CDIC and the party's Organization Department, which oversees personnel affairs, Ji said.

The party chief of the environmental ministry, Chen Jining, said his organization will make changes to the assessment system, and strengthen supervision over projects and special funds.

The inspection teams have played an import role in the major anti-graft campaign launched by the party's general secretary, Xi Jinping, in late 2012. The teams have found evidence many officials have been involved in wrongdoing.

Three rounds of inspections of local governments, state-owned enterprises and other entities were carried out last year.

CDIC chief Wang Qishan said on February 11 that during the first round of inspections this year, teams will be sent to 26 central government-backed enterprises, including China National Petroleum Corp., which has seen many executives investigated for graft.

(Rewritten by Guo Kai)

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