Upon Prison Discharge, Bribed Officials Receive Compensation

November 14, 2010 10:25 pm Last Updated: November 14, 2010 10:29 pm

An official from Zhejiang Province, upon his release from prison, received a large sum of money as “jail term compensation” from the party that had bribed him. Similar scenarios have triggered animated discussion within legal circles, prompting some experts to suggest punishment for the receipt of such compensation.

According to a report on China.com, in a bid for a construction project an official named Li used his position to give particular “care” (in the form of a bribe) to a contractor named Wang. Later, Li was sentenced to five years for his part in the deal. After Li was discharged, Wang recommended that his associates reward the corrupt official with several million yuan as “jail term compensation.” Li has admitted to accepting compensation on several different occasions.

A person named Zhang and two staffers of a particular bureau accepted 100,000 yuan (US$15,000) in bribe money from a developer named Liu, offering special assistance for Liu’s construction project payment settlement, according to other reports online.

Liu was able to accrue over eight million yuan (US$1.2 million) illegally. Zhang and the two co-workers were jailed for accepting bribes. In the meantime, Liu procured one million yuan (US$150,500) as compensation money for Zhang and the others, given to them after their release.

Analysts point out that those who offer “jail term compensation” do so mainly for their own gain. They adhere closely to the unwritten law of bribery protocol, which is especially strong in the construction field where multiple connections need to be bought off and maintained. Those that testify in bribery cases are seen as traitors. To gain confidence and support, the bribing party will offer compensation to those that take the fall.

While parties accepting the bribes may be punished by law, they normally have a substantial network already built up, and retain their social capital. After they serve their terms and are compensated—presumably with bygones being bygones—both parties will often forge a tighter alliance, integrating resources and cooperating together to turn more profits.

Law experts are quick to concede that “jail term compensation” reduces the sting of the penalty, making it a carrot dangled in front of corrupt officials and emboldening them to accept bribes or embezzle more brazenly than otherwise. The accused will frequently resist confessing at the investigative stage, or become uncooperative or resistant at trial.

In the case of the official named Li, he provided a full confession just three hours after he was apprehended. When investigators said he was free to go, he asked whether he could be detained for a few more days: his inner circle would look askance at someone who spilled the beans too quickly. The subsequent finger pointing and accusations by his accomplices would have called his prospects as a corrupt player into question.

Read the original Chinese article.