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Civil servants to be rewarded for being clean in Jiangmen

Civil servants to be rewarded for being clean in Jiangmen

Write: Tinh [2011-05-20]

The city of Jiangmen in South China's Guangdong province has established a fund to reward civil servants who resist corruption and remain honest.

According to the newly proposed measures on the "clean governance accumulation fund", about 4,600 civil servants will have a certain amount of their paycheck deducted every month.

The amount will be deposited in their personal accounts within the fund starting on July 1.

The city government will also put 20 million yuan ($2.94 million) into the fund every year, which averages into 4,000 yuan for each civil servant's account per year.

The civil servants will be able to withdraw 70 percent from their funds every five years, if they receive a clean assessment. The rest will be given to the civil servants in one lump sum when they retire.

According to the proposed measures, a prefecture-level official will have 1,600 yuan deducted every month, while a county-level official will have 1,400 yuan deducted and the lowest-ranking government employee will have 300 yuan deducted.

An official from the city government, who declined to be named, said such a fund, which is similar to the country's housing accumulation fund, is not a form of welfare or special reward for the city's civil servants.

"Introduction of such a fund does not mean we cultivate clean governance through high pay either," the official said on Tuesday.

"However, we hope the practice will help encourage civil servants to be honest and stay away from corruption," he said.

Wang Jiyuan, a researcher on political science and law at the local Wuyi University, said such a fund is helpful.

"But anti-corruption efforts are complicated and a clean fund is not enough" to prevent government officials from becoming corrupted, Wang said.

Government departments should put their operations "under the sunshine", he said.

"The management and use of public money and property should be open, fair, just and transparent to prevent corruption," he added.

Meanwhile, all levels of government should try to prevent the centralization of power by major officials, in order to keep corruption in check.

The establishment of such a clean fund has sparked controversy among locals.

Li Chaoqi, a Jiangmen resident, said clean performance is a basic requirement for civil servants.

"The government should not spend the taxpayers' money to subsidize the government employees for being clean," he said.

Another resident, Chen Rengqing, said the special fund will be worthwhile, if it leads to government departments becoming cleaner and working more efficiently.

In the first five months of this year, 15 prefecture-level and 71 county-level officials were investigated after supervision departments in Guangdong investigated a total of 2,206 corruption cases across the province.

Meanwhile, discipline inspection and supervision departments handled a total of 30,429 corruption cases between 2003 and 2009, punishing 31,221 officials, according to official figures from provincial government department.