Chinese official who allegedly owned 29 houses will face a probe for misusing his position, state media reported on Friday.

The procuratorate of Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, decided today to investigate Zhai Zhenfeng, the former director of the housing administration bureau in Erqi district of the city.

A preliminary probe by the district government confirmed that Zhai’s family owns 29 houses.

A whistle blower said on his microblog account last week that Zhai’s daughter owns 11 affordable houses and two ID cards.

This sparked outrage online, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier, the whistle-blower had accused Zhai of engaging in practices for his own personal gain such as buying affordable houses and selling them at a profit and acquiring properties for his son and daughter when he was the housing administration head.

In September 2011, Zhai was removed from his post by the local discipline inspection watchdog of Erqi district for a set of disciplinary offences, including seeking profits for his family.

The procuratorate of Zhengzhou said, based on the previous findings of Zhai’s misconduct, he has violated the law and the case should be placed on file for investigation.

Zhai’s case resembles that of Cai Bin, an urban management official in southern Guangdong Province, who was dismissed from his post in October after online postings said he owned 22 houses.

Zhai and Cai are among a number of Chinese officials who have been targeted by the country’s netizens and later investigated by disciplinary watchdogs.

Other officials include one who was found having at least 11 expensive wristwatches and another whose sex video with a woman was leaked to the Internet.

A spate of corruption scandals in the recent past prompted China’s new leaders to warn that graft if not curtailed could threaten the hold of the ruling Communist Party over China.

(This article was published on January 4, 2013)
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