Imprisoned Chinese Official Faces New Trial for Bribery

September 15, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: September 15, 2006 12:00 am

Former deputy district director Ma Jianguo of Jinniu District, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province was recently charged for offering bribes of over 300,000 yuan while under detention.

In exchange for the bribes, he was allowed to wear his regular clothes, eat regular meals, visit restaurants and hotels, stay at home overnight, have cash and cigarettes in the cell, and use cell phones to manage his company.

According to a report by Huaxi Metropolitan News , 43-year-old Ma was convicted by a court in Chengdu City in June 2004 for misuse of public money and destroying accounting records. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

While imprisoned, Ma had many privileges and frequently used the excuse of visiting the doctor to stay at home overnight, meet with friends and relatives, attend banquets, handle company business, and used cell phones to maintain communication with the outside world.

Most of Ma's bribery was given to Warden Wu Bangzhi of Western Sichuan Prison. Ma admitted that in August and September of 2005, Wu had private talks with him with the excuse of “caring for his illnesses.”

During these talks, Wu said that he needed 170,000 yuan for a condo he was purchasing in Chengdu, and wanted to borrow money from Ma. Wu said he would pay the money back in a year. Within a few days, Ma had paid the money on Wu's behalf.

Ma also said that in October 2005, Wu borrowed another 100,000 yuan from him to make up the deficit in the prison's administrative funds. He promised the money would be paid back as soon as new funding arrived.

Ma called his father-in-law and asked a driver to deliver the money to the prison. According to Wu's accounts, however, Ma volunteered to give him 100,000 yuan so that Wu could “take care of relations” for Ma outside of the prison. Another person who took bribes from Ma was Xiang Ruizhong, division leader of criminal penalty. Ma has twice given Xiang 25 cartons of Yun and Chonghwa cigarettes, worth 9,500 yuan. On another occasion, Xiang told Ma that he had to drive to Tibet and needed some fuel vouchers. A few days later, Ma gave Xiang an envelope at the prison library containing 15,000 yuan in cash.

Ma also said that he had arranged for his staff to pay a “salary” to Liu Bo, head of the First Division in the prison, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 a month. He admitted that he gave Liu money twice while in a police van, 800 yuan and 600 yuan. Liu said that for about five months, he received 2,000 yuan from Ma's staff every month, totaling 10,000 yuan.

Ma said that while he was in prison, the company he invested in was still operating, and he was still able to review the company accounts.