BEIJING Oct 21 China's anti-graft authorities
have punished eight people at a state-owned rail construction
firm for spending more than $100 million on hospitality last
year, a disciplinary body of the Communist Party said on Monday.
Besides waste and fraud, the country's railway system has
been mired in debt from building high-speed lines. President Xi
Jinping has vowed to crack down on official corruption, saying
he will target high-flying "tigers" as well as lowly "flies."
China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd., the
country's second-largest infrastructure contractor, spent 837
million yuan ($135 million) on receptions for guests, the ruling
party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said.
Wang Qishan, China's top anti-corruption official, has
ordered that the bloated hospitality costs "must be dealt with
severely", the disciplinary body said, adding that 57 others
were criticized, with one person facing prosecution.
Investigators found problems with invoices and accounting,
according to the state enterprises regulator, the disciplinary
body said on its website.
The company, which could not immediately be reached for
comment, has moved to cut hospitality costs after the probe, the
body added. It did not say what punishment the eight individuals
China's railways have faced increased scrutiny from
anti-corruption officials and the public after a scandal in
which former railways minister Liu Zhijun was prosecuted for
corruption and abuse of power.
One of several officials implicated in the scandal, Liu
received a suspended death sentence this summer. In China, that
usually implies life in prison.
(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)