sage: There seems to be some serious activity all over the world with governments everywhere digging out the hot beds of corruption. Story 1 comes from South America, Story 2 from Africa and Story 3, Asia, where the culprit owned 374 houses. Add these to the European Sarkozy/Vatican bank tales and the various exposures that have come out of North America and we have all the continents covered. Global restructuring has begun in earnest and the truth will out.
Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro
Story 1 – Venezuela Charges Five Officials With Embezzling China Funds
By Brian Ellsworth, Reuters – July 8, 2013
(Reuters) – Venezuela has arrested five officials and charged them with embezzling $84 million from a China-financed development fund administered by state-run development bank Bandes, President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday.
Maduro did not say whether the case was linked to charges by U.S. authorities earlier this year that employees of a New York broker-dealer had created an elaborate kickback scheme to ensure it won Bandes’ bond-trading business.
“We have captured five people in raids that we carried out in Caracas linked to the embezzlement of $84 million from the Chinese Fund and Bandes,” Maduro said in a televised broadcast.
“I ask that our people give us full support for our battle against corruption.”
He did not offer additional details. A Bandes official did not respond to a call requesting comment.
Venezuela has received at least $36 billion in loans from China that have helped finance two economic development funds focused largely on infrastructure projects. Maduro did not specify which of the funds was involved.
As of last month, U.S. attorneys had filed criminal charges against four people including a senior Bandes official and employees of broker-dealer Direct Access Partners over the alleged kickback scheme.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought a separate civil complaint four people, two of whom were also named in the criminal case.
Maduro has vowed a concerted effort to stamp out corruption in the South American OPEC nation, pointing to recent arrests of senior officials from state companies and government ministries.
None have been heavyweight leaders of the leftist “Chavismo” movement forged by the late President Hugo Chavez, his mentor. Opposition leaders have said he is avoiding going after influential ruling party leaders.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Story 2 – Liberia’s Johnson-Sirleaf Sacks Auditor-General For Graft
Reuters – July 8, 2013
(Reuters) – President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf dismissed Liberia’s auditor-general and the head of the public procurement agency (GSA) on Monday in a crackdown on public sector corruption.
Johnson-Sirleaf, a Nobel peace laureate, has pledged to fight graft as the West African country strives to recover from a sporadic 14-year civil conflict that ended in 2003 and left its once-prosperous economy in tatters.
A presidency statement said Auditor-General Robert Kilby, who took office last year, was being dismissed for a clear conflict of interest due to his private business dealings.
Pearine Davis-Parkinson, director-general of the General Services Agency (GSA), was dismissed for approving contracts involving Kilby in violation of Liberian law.
Davis-Parkinson told a parliamentary committee last week the GSA had employed an accounting firm owned by Kilby to set up an asset tracking system for the government.
“Join me in our continued fight against corruption,” Johnson-Sirleaf said in a statement announcing the dismissals.
Johnson-Sirleaf, who took office as Africa’s first elected female head of state in 2006, has come under pressure for failing to root out corruption.
A recent audit of resource contracts by the accounting firm Moore Stephens showed that almost all the $8 billion worth of resource contracts signed since 2009 violated Liberia’s laws and showed irregularities.
Johnson-Sirleaf told Reuters that the audit had been designed to highlight problems so that they could be addressed, and her government was taking action to do so.
She has forecast that economic growth, which has averaged 6.5 percent over the past four years, will hit double digits within two years as foreign investment starts to have an impact.
China’s ex-railway minister Liu Zhijan
Story 3 – China Ex-Railway Minister Convicted for Graft
Stephen: The Communist Party chief famed for building China’s high-speed rail network has been given a suspended death sentence after he was revealed to have siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars to fund a luxury life with 374 houses, 16 cars and a harem of mistresses.
Al Jazeera – July 8, 2013
Liu Zhijun given suspended death sentence for taking bribes and giving lucrative projects to associates
China’s former railways minister Liu Zhijun has given a suspended death sentence for his role in a huge corruption scandal, state media reports.
Liu was accused of using his position of influence to help about 11 business associates win promotions and project contracts and accepted 64.6 million Chinese yuan ($10.5 million) in unspecified bribes between 1986 and 2011.
Under Chinese law the death penalty can be imposed for taking bribes exceeding 100,000 yuan ($ 16.000). The official Xinhua News Agency on Monday said the sentence was with a two-year reprieve by a court in Beijing. After two years, such sentences typically are commuted to life in prison if the inmate shows good behaviour.
The court also ordered all of Liu’s personal property to be confiscated and issued a separate sentence of 10 years in prison for abuse of power.
Liu’s lawyer Qian Lieyang said his client would likely not appeal the sentence.
Once hailed as the “father” of China’s flagship high-speed rail network, Liu was sacked as railways minister in 2011 after eight years in the post,
The country boasts the world’s longest high-speed network, but a high-speed crash killing some 40 people in 2011, sparked public criticism that authorities compromised safety in their rush to expand the network.
The railways ministry was disbanded with its administrative functions handed to the transport ministry.