A power company executive has been suspended from duty following the discovery that the company was splurging on building luxury houses - in a county where the average income is below the poverty line.
This snapshot from a CCTV program shows the exquisite decoration of the villas in Yucheng county in Henan province.
The Yucheng County Power Company, in Central China's Henan Province, began construction of the luxury housing project in mid-2003, despite a ban issued by the Ministry of Land and Resources in February that year forbidding land supply for building villas or luxury houses, according to Tuesday's China Daily.
The houses had been distributed among the company's former and current executives, according to Li Lei, chairman of the company's labor union -- executives who are also regarded as local officials because the company is owned by the local government.
Sixty-one two-story detached houses, each finely decorated and with a garage, make up the main part of the project dubbed "Pearl River Garden".
After the case was reported by state broadcaster, the government of Shangqiu city, which administers Yucheng county, dispatched an investigation team led by a deputy mayor to the county.
An unnamed executive of Shangqiu's power company was held responsible for the building of the houses and has been suspended from duty, local publicity official Jia Wenliang was quoted as saying by the English newspaper.
Local government departments in charge of land supply and construction could not provide archives for the construction's approval.
The company had informed the county's bureau of land and resources that it would use the land for construction of residential and office buildings, said Geng Jianshe, deputy chief of the bureau, adding the local government had approved the land deal.
The company refused to provide financial details for the residential project, according to the newspaper.