Thursday, 8 July 2010

A Tale of Two Cities - A Cure For Corruption

This is A Tale of Two Cities in the fight against corruption.

From CNN News
Ex-Chinese official executed for corruption
By the CNN Wire Staff

July 8, 2010 -- Updated 0032 GMT (0832 HKT)

A petitioner outside the Chongqing, China, court in April shows photos of crimes allegedly committed by Wen Qiang.

Beijing, China (CNN) -- The highest-ranking official accused of collusion with gangs that terrorized the central city of Chongqing has been executed, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

Wen Qiang, 55, former director of the Chongqing Justice Bureau, had been convicted of corruption charges involving organized crime, Xinhua said. He was sentenced to death by a lower court April 14 for accepting bribes, shielding criminal gangs, rape and failing to account for his cash and assets, the news agency said.

Wen lost an appeal May 21. He was executed in Chongqing on Wednesday.

The Chongqing No. 5 Intermediate People's Court ruled that Wen took bribes totaling more than 12 million yuan (more than $1.7 million U.S.) personally or through his wife from 1996 to 2009. In return, Wen offered posts for officials and helped companies and businesses obtain illegal profits, Xinhua said.

Wen also was convicted of shielding five major organized crime gangs in Chongqing after accepting bribes worth 756,500 yuan (more than $110,000 U.S.).

In addition, the court ruled that Wen raped a university student after getting her drunk in August 2007, Xinhua said.

Wen failed to account for the sources of more than 10 million yuan (nearly $1.48 million U.S.) in personal assets, Xinhua reported, and all of his personal property was seized ....................................................

To fight against corruption, is the following the solution?

It is reported that Raila Odinga, Kenya's prime minister, rejected the pay increase he was awarded by the country's parliament.

From The Economist
Politicians' salaries

How much a country's leader is paid compared to GDP per person

Jul 5th 2010

ON MONDAY July 5th Raila Odinga, Kenya's prime minister, rejected the pay increase he was awarded by the country's parliament last week. MPs had granted Mr Odinga a rise to nearly $430,000 a year, while giving themselves a 25% increase to $161,000. This boost would place Mr Odinga among the highest-paid political leaders in the world. More worryingly, his salary would be some 240 times greater than the country's GDP per person (measured on a purchasing-power parity basis). Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, tops our list of selected leaders' salaries. He is paid more than 40 times the city-state’s GDP per person. At the other end of the scale, Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, reaffirms his reputation for saintliness by taking a modest sum from Indian taxpayers.

Correction: We originally understated the salary of the prime minister of Canada. This was revised on July 6th 2010.

Singapore's Minister Mentor said the following to defend the high salaries of Ministers :-

Abstracted From News
S'pore cannot afford "revolving door" style of govt: MM Lee
The Minister Mentor warned that the Singapore economy would be in jeopardy if it does not pay top dollar for top people.

By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia
Posted: 04 April 2007 1918 hrs

SYDNEY: Singapore cannot afford to have a "revolving door" style of government where top leaders change every five years.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said the country needs good, competent people who will stay.

And this is why they must be paid market rates.

Mr Lee was speaking to reporters in Sydney at the end of his visit to Australia and New Zealand.


He said if this S$46 million was cut to maybe S$36 million or S$26 million, the country would save S$20 million but in the process, would jeopardise an economy of S$210 billion.

"So for the average family earning S$1,500-S$3,000, we are talking of astronomical figures but for people like me in government, to deal with the money which we have accumulated by the sweat of our brow over the last 40 years, you have to pay the market rate or the man will up stakes and join Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers or Goldman Sachs and you would have an incompetent man and you would have lost money by the billions," said Mr Lee.

While other countries may have leaders who are paid less, Mr Lee said rewarding Singapore leaders well is a system that has worked and is above board.

He said: "If you are going to quarrel about S$46 million – up or down another S$10 to S$20 million – I say you don't have a sense of proportion."

And when it comes to benchmarking, Mr Lee said his own annual income, which is S$2.7 million, is a fraction of what the top managers in the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) earns.

He said: "The cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government... your asset values will disappear, your apartments will be worth a fraction of what it is, your jobs will be in peril, your security will be at risk and our women will become maids in other persons' countries - foreign workers."

When asked to comment on the perception that political leaders should not be in it for the money, and instead, be ready to make that extra sacrifice for the good of the people, the Minister Mentor said it is an admirable sentiment ........................................................

And that was in April 2007, the Singapore Government is expected to announce another round of pay increase from those published by the The Economist above...and will PM Lee and his Ministers reject them just like the PM of Kenya...or will the tax-payers have to bear the additional financial burden?

There seems to be a thin line between corruption and accountability as higlighted by this Tale of the Two Cities.

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