China: Former Energy Chief Expelled From Communist Party Amid Accusations Of Corruption

Great Hall of People
Military band members rehearse before the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 15, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Following accusations of corruption, China has expelled its former energy chief, Nur Bekri. Beijing's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Bekri has been dismissed from his duties due to his reported abuse of power.

According to the South China Morning Post, the Chinese anti-corruption agency said on Saturday that Bekri lived a "lavish life" and abused his authority. The allegations triggered an investigation that will look into Bekri's properties and assets.

The disciplinary committee said Bekri accepted bribes from people who sought for favors. These gifts reportedly included luxury cars that he demanded for his relatives although the extent of his bribery acceptance has yet to be revealed in detail. The case has been forwarded to prosecutors.

Bekri was placed under investigation in September after it was revealed that he engaged in "family-style corruption." The former energy planning head is said to have accepted property either directly or through the help of his relatives. He has also been described as "greedy and corrupt," according to a statement from the inspection group.

Before the revelations were made, Bekri was known to many as a former Xinjiang governor. He also served time as deputy head of the country's state planner. He is famous for being one of China's highest-ranking Uygur officials.

Over the past couple of years, the energy industry has been a prime target of an anti-corruption campaign that Chinese President Xi Jinping supported. Since taking office in 2012, Xi has presided over the campaign that saw a number of top-rank officials with positions in state-owned firms being placed under investigation for cases related to corruption.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported that Beijing recovered over $519 million in ill-gotten funds through the Chinese government's "Sky Net" campaign that aims to catch corrupt officials and recover money obtained through accepting bribes.

Beijing reported that in 2018, 1,335 fugitives who moved overseas after the crackdown have been deported back to China. The government also said the recovered amount involved 307 Communist Party members and government employees. Five of the people whose ill-gotten wealth have been returned to the Chinese government are on a top 100 most-wanted list.

Bekri isn't the only top official who has been caught in the radar. Reuters reported in January that one of the considered "tigers" in the list of suspect corrupt officials has been accused. Former provincial Communist Party chief for three years, Zhao Zhengyong was accused of failing to take action on the Chinese president's instructions regarding luxury villas believed to have been built illegally.

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