Former Sinopec president gets 15 years for graft

China sentenced a former president of state-run energy giant Sinopec to 15 and a half years for corruption Tuesday, official media said, the latest punishment meted out to a prominent figure in the graft-riddled oil sector.

Wang Tianpu, the former general manager of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), was also fined 3.2 million yuan ($470,000), the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nanchang City Intermediate People's Court in the eastern province of Jiangxi ordered Wang's illicit gains to be confiscated and said that the assets he embezzled should be returned to Sinopec, the national broadcaster CCTV reported.

Wang's sentence came less than a week after Liao Yongyuan, a former executive with Sinopec's parent company CNPC, was jailed for 15 years on similar charges.

Wang was charged in November for accepting almost 33.5 million yuan in bribes and embezzling nearly 800,000 yuan of state-owned assets, China's top anti-graft authority, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), said.

President Xi Jinping launched a much-publicised drive against corruption after he came to power in 2012, vowing to target both high-level "tigers" and low-ranking "flies".

The CCDI said in 2015 that it plans to investigate all major state-owned enterprises.

But critics say a lack of transparency around the purge raises concerns that it could be used by Xi to eliminate political enemies.

Analysts say China has failed to implement institutional safeguards against corruption, including an independent judiciary and free media.