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Henan officials probed over mine accident cover-up

Xinhua, September 9, 2014 Adjust font size:

Prosecutors are investigating eight officials in central China's Henan Province over their role in the cover-up of a deadly mine accident that has only recently come to light, four years after the incident.

The investigation into the Lushan County officials began after authorities were tipped off earlier this year that a fire on Dec. 22, 2009in a mine owned by the Rongningfeng Company killed 24 people and caused direct economic losses of over 20.4 million yuan (3.32 million U.S. dollars), the Supreme People's Procuratorate said Tuesday.

Investigation showed that the county's Coal Industry Bureau and the Bureau of Land and Resources "failed to earnestly fulfill their safety supervision responsibilities regarding the mine's illegal operations, deliberately covered up casualties in the accident, and delayed investigation into and handling of the accident," according to the SPP.

Three officials from the Coal Industry Bureau, including director Huang Yongdong, chief engineer Gu Sanguo and rescue team head Zhao Beifang, are being probed for suspected abuse of power.

Five officials from the Bureau of Land and Resources, including Bao Jianwei, deputy head of the mining industry's supervision and inspection brigade, are under investigation for suspected dereliction of duty.

Prosecutors said they have also found evidence that Huang Yongdong and Gu Sanguo took bribes.

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