China says graft found at leading university, state food company

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's anti-graft watchdog said it has uncovered evidence of corruption at Shanghai's prestigious Fudan University and state-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), as China continues its crackdown on graft.

Inspection teams found that Fudan University had lax oversight of research funds and its various business and academic units, the ruling Communist Party's chief disciplinary body said in a statement issued late on Monday.

"The systems of oversight are not robust, there are many affiliated hospitals under the school's oversight with complicated power structures, which means oversight is hard, creating a ripe environment for corruption," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said.

The Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping has been publicising efforts to crack down on wasteful government spending and corruption to shore up its mandate to rule, which has been shaken by suspicion that officials waste taxpayers'money on extravagances even as economic growth slows.

The inspection teams' reports, compiled since March, said foodmaker COFCO's "soft" regulation had also led to public funds being used to pay for golf tournaments and other extravagances.

The inspection teams found that some government officials in central Henan province were using bribes to gain promotions, accepting bribes during land sales and project tendering, living corrupt lives and exercising cronyism, the watchdog said.

Officials in northeastern Liaoning province intervened in tendering and land and resource sales, with irregularities in public vehicle use among other items of misconduct.

President Xi has vowed to take down powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies" and graft-busting inspection teams have fanned out across China since he took office last year.

The party announced last week that Xu Caihou, who retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission in 2013, had been expelled from the party and would be court-martialled after being accused of corruption.

Xu is the most senior person to date to have been felled.

The crackdown against extravagance and graft has also damaged the business of many high-end restaurants and hotels, with foreign luxury carmakers and producers of the premium alcohol baijiu particularly in the line of fire.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.