June 16, 2015 / 5:28 AM / 5 years ago

China arrests former senior energy executive after graft probe

BEIJING (Reuters) - A former senior executive at the state-run China Southern Power Grid has been arrested for suspected bribery, the state prosecutor said on Tuesday, the latest official to fall victim to the government’s battle against graft.

Qi Dacai was a vice president and director at the company until he was put under investigation for corruption by the ruling Communist Party in March.

The state prosecutor said that its branch in the southern province of Guangdong had approved the arrest, and that the probe was still ongoing. It gave no further details.

China Southern Power Grid did not respond to a request for comment.

The Communist Party has targeted several big state-owned firms for graft inspections this year, including China Southern Power Grid, China Power Investment Corp and State Nuclear Power Technology Corp.

After an inspection of China Southern Power Grid, the party’s anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said that the company had made progress in fighting corruption but that problems remained.

That included nepotism, building extravagant offices and use of official funds for personal travel, it said on Tuesday.

The watchdog also announced the results of inspections into PetroChina, China’s top oil and gas producer, and China’s top offshore oil producer China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC).

It said it found unspecified management problems with both company’s overseas investments as well as use of official funds for entertainment.

The anti-graft efforts at state firms coincides with the expected roll-out of ambitious new guidelines to overhaul China’s inefficient state sector.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to go after powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies” in his struggle against corruption, warning that the problem is so bad it could affect the party’s grip on power.

Several senior former and current officials have been felled, including retired domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, once one of China’s most powerful men, who was jailed for life last week after a secret trial.

As the courts are controlled by the party they generally do not challenge the party’s accusations.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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