…As 3 killed in Guinea anti-govt protests, opposition says***
Wu Zhen, former deputy head of the now defunct China Food and Drug Administration, was on Friday sentenced to 16 years in jail after he was convicted of taking bribes and abuse of power.
The ruling was handed down by the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, in the first instance open trial.
The court heard that between 1996 and 2018, Zhen took advantage of his various positions to assist organisations and individuals in getting approval for drugs or finding employment.
He illegally accepted money and goods worth about 21.71 million yuan ($3.1 million) directly or through his relatives.
He also committed fraud in his work for personal gain and abused his power when he served as a senior official of the country’s food and drug administration as well as the health authority.
However, his personal gains have caused huge losses to the interests of the country and the people.
Zhen was also given a fine to the tune of 1 million yuan and had his illegal properties confiscated, according to the verdict.
The court said Zhen received a lesser punishment as his attempts to take bribes worth 12 million yuan were unsuccessful and he confessed some of his criminal acts before investigators uncovered them and expressed remorse and returned part of the bribes he had taken.
In the meantime, at least three people were killed in renewed anti-government protests in Guinea, an opposition party said on Friday.
The deaths occurred as opposition supporters marched on Thursday against President Alpha Conde’s plans to amend the constitution to run for a third term, the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) said in a statement.
Opposition leaders say security forces have killed at least 17 people since mid-October.
Human rights group Amnesty International places the death toll of those killed in various anti-government protests since 2015 at about 70.
Moreover, hundreds of people, including small children, have been injured by members of the security forces using live ammunition, batons and tear gas canisters, according to Amnesty.
Conde is due to step down in 2020, at the end of his second five-year presidential term, but has indicated plans to amend the constitution to allow him to run for re-election.
The 81-year-old came to power in 2010, and was re-elected in 2015, promising to strengthen democracy and fight corruption in the country of roughly 13 million people.
But he and his son have since then been implicated in numerous corruption scandals, largely linked to the mining industry, and has been suspected of election rigging.
Guinea is rich in bauxite, iron ore and diamonds but also mines gold, nickel and uranium.