OPINIONS Mining ban on officials' kin latest move in right direction


Mining ban on officials' kin latest move in right direction

China Daily

08:22, December 10, 2020

Photo: IC

The government of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region issued a rule last week banning civil servants' spouses, children as well as the children's spouses from taking advantage of their positions to do business in the mining industry.

The ban is applicable until three years after the civil servants retire.

Although the officials are barred from doing business in the mining sector, some in Inner Mongolia have allegedly pocketed huge bribes by approving contracts that benefit their relatives, who are either shareholders or hold pseudo titles as senior executives in the mining enterprises.

The ban, though long overdue, represents the region's latest effort to tackle corruption in its mining industry.

The region's disciplinary watchdog departments had claimed in February that they would look for hints of corruption in all mining deals since 2000, and not condone any abuse of power.

More than 500 civil servants in Inner Mongolia were punished until October this year for their involvement in 410 mining corruption cases.

The central authority's anti-graft inspection too found corruption in mining projects in 13 out of 31 provincial-level regions over the past eight years. In many of these cases, relatives of administrators were found involved.

Although strengthening supervision of the officials' family members might make it difficult for them to take undue advantage of their position, the root of the problem remains the concentration of power in the hands of a few officials.

Many power holders even risk being caught because of the huge money involved in mining projects. They know that despite the risks involved, if they are lucky to evade being caught, they will end up with a "banknote printing machine" at home if they clear the right mining deals.

Also, this way, big interest groups are formed to resist anti-graft probes, making mining-related corruption cases hard to crack. Therefore, until serious efforts are made to check such concentration of power, all efforts to plug the loopholes in the anti-graft system will seem like a patchwork.

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