China has approved a plan by its Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) to set up a “super” anti-graft bureau that will investigate officials suspected of corruption.
SPP General Cao Jianming told China Daily that the new bureau will be staffed by several dozen experienced senior prosecutors, who will be appointed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The bureau will also be combined with three existing bodies—the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Bureau, the Prevention of Duty-Related Crimes Department and the Investigation of Dereliction of Duty and Power Abuse Department—and will be established at vice-ministerial level, higher than a regular bureau.
A large database and an improved filing system will be built and are expected to be set in several months.
According to Deputy Head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Zhao Hongzhu, more than half of government offices and public institutions are still to be visited by disciplinary investigators.
In 2014, the national prosecutor reportedly launched an investigation involving 28 high-ranking officials facing corruption charges, 7 of which are being handled directly by SPP while 21 other cases are in the provincial-level prosecution authorities.
Macau gaming tax income down 24% in the first two months of 2015
China’s crackdown on corruption has not only resulted in nine straight months of revenue declines in Macau, it’s also hurting the government’s tax coffers. According to data published by the city’s Financial Services Bureau, Macau’s government collected a total of MOP16.95 billion (US$2.12 billion) in direct taxes from gaming in the first two months of 2015, a 24% year-on-year decline.
February’s direct taxes from gaming reached MOP8.46 billion, as the monthly gaming revenue number decreased below MOP20 billion for the first time in four years.
The numbers also show a 25.2% year-on-year decrease to MOP20.16 billion in government revenue for the first two months of 2015, about MOP6.78 billion less than that of a year ago.
The Macau government imposes a 35% special gaming tax on casino GGR plus 4% of the gross in indirect taxes for social and promotional purposes, as well as a levy on each gaming machine, live dealer table and VIP room.
Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the city’s economic future and that everything was in line with the government’s projections, as work continued on the “adequate diversification” of the local economy. Chui also said that the ultimate aim was to turn the city into an international leisure and tourism destination.