Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Joyride is Over

Some officials are in very big trouble after having a good time at the expense of taxpayers.

They were either sacked or given a serious reprimand after taking "business trips" abroad, but they were really having fun, shopping and sightseeing.

One group was from Zhejiang, the other from Jiangxi provinces.

The officials were originally sent overseas in February for training and business meetings in the United States and Canada, but in the end they hit Niagara Falls, Hawaii and Las Vegas; and as we all know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

However, they were exposed -- on the Internet -- after an IT engineer from Shanghai found a bag of travel documents on a subway train.

Using the name Chimei Wangliang2009, he posted 37 photographs of the documents on the Internet on November 26 and informed the two governments of his find.

The documents listed the names of the travelers, itineraries, invitation letters, and payment vouchers for the world wide web to see.

The Zhejiang group's trip allegedly cost 650,000RMB ($94,835), and the one from Jiangxi 330,000RMB ($48,147).

While the officials from Zhejiang were basically only given a slap on the wrist by provincial authorities, the ones from Jiangxi were ordered to pay back the money and three of the officials who organized the trip were sacked.

The different punishments reveal how seriously each provincial government took the matter; and it shows that officials aren't afraid to wine and dine, especially when it comes to overseas travel.

What's also interesting is that if the IT engineer only found those documents in late November, what was someone doing holding onto such documents dating back from February? Were they some sort of proof of bragging rights?

The Internet has made it easier to exposure other people's failures and quickly bring them down, thus making it harder for officials in particular to cover their tracks.

Sounds like the party's over.

1 comment:

ks said...

this type of perks happen everywhere in the world. even in the clean city of vancouver . years ago we had a group of city councillors took an all expense-paid trip to london to learn their subway system. how the fare/ticketing works in the tube. but all they learned was still up in the air. now it is reportred that in our sky train there are a lot of non-paid riders. despite inspectors patrolling the cars checking passengers it offers no deterent. our recently elected mayor was once caught for not paying enough fare. he paid only one zone fare while crossing the crossing the city.