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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Namibia Seeks ‘Cooperation’ From Hu’s Son in Graft Probe

The Namibian government is asking for "cooperation and assistance" from the son of China's president in a probe involving a Chinese maker of security scanners, according to Paulus Noa, director of the African country's Anti-Corruption Commission.

Hu Haifeng, the son of Chinese President Hu Jintao, is the former president of Nuctech Co., which sells equipment such as radioactivity monitors and x-ray inspection systems. Two Namibians and a Chinese representative of Nuctech were arrested last week after commission investigators found that $12.8 million for security scanners had been paid to a consulting company, Agence France-Presse reported.

"We would like to talk to him," Noa said, referring to Hu Haifeng in a telephone interview today from Windhoek, Namibia's capital. "We don't suspect him, we are just trying to get information from him about his company."

The probe threatens to embarrass President Hu, who is waging a crackdown on officialcorruption in China. Hu Haifeng is no longer head of the company, but is the party secretary of Nuctech's parent company, Tsinghua Holdings Co., according to Tsinghua Holdings' Web site. Tsinghua University, from which Nuctech claims its origins, is the alma mater of President Hu.

Zhou Liying, a spokeswoman for Nuctech in Beijing, said the company had no comment on the arrests in Namibia. Leonard Nambahu, Namibia's ambassador to China, said in a telephone interview that his embassy has not been involved in the Nuctech issue.

Noa said that a bail hearing will be held today for the three defendants. He said his office hasn't been able to contact Hu Haifeng or Nuctech company officials.

"There has been some indication that some officials from Nuctech will come to Namibia, even though we haven't seen any official information in writing," Noa said.

In 2006, Nuctech won a contract to provide scanners for liquid explosives to all security checkpoints and airports in China, the company said in a statement at the time.

--Paul Richardson, Michael Forsythe: Editor: Ben Richardson.

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