Removing ghost employees
Updated: 2014-09-26 07:37
More than 100,000 phantom employees on government payrolls have materialized in Hebei, Sichuan, Henan and Jilin provinces. In Hebei alone, more than 100 million yuan ($16 million) has been recovered.
It is almost unbelievable that so many have been living on taxpayers' money with just their names listed on government payrolls. It is even more unbelievable that the payrolls of local governments at various levels could be managed in such a manner for so long.
In the cases uncovered, it has not been unusual for some local leaders' sons or daughters to be placed on local government payrolls and receive salaries while they are still in university or even in high school. And, in at least one instance, an official who had been convicted for corruption and was no longer a government employee has been paid a regular salary over the past seven years.
It is undoubtedly a great achievement to have so many leeches on the public purse removed as they have been siphoning off public money for many years. But there has been no information forthcoming about how many officials have been taken to task and punished for their roles in employing these ghost workers at the public's expense.
It is in effect an offense for leaders to place their sons or daughters on government payrolls, as it is the embezzlement of public money. There is no reason to let them get away unpunished just because they have handed over the money. Whoever has enabled a relative to receive money in such a way should be prosecuted and given the penalties they deserve.
It is a question of how rule of law is carried out.
It is definitely wrong to consider such a type of corruption as any different from taking bribes or embezzling public money directly.
Exempting such offenders from the punishment they deserve will not just convince them that it does not matter if they abuse their power in such a manner. It will also create the impression among the public that corrupt officials can easily get a protective umbrella from the Party and government.
Such nepotistic abuses of power cause no less damage to the public good and fuel mistrust in the government. That in turn undermines the public's confidence in the establishment of the real rule of law in the country.