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Tuesday, 10 April, 2001, 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK
Anti-corruption chief denies corruption

The man in charge of anti-corruption efforts in Venezuela has rejected accusations that he turned a blind eye to fraud in President Hugo Chavez's flagship social programme.

The Comptroller-General, Clodosvaldo Russian -- appointed by Mr Chavez to fulfill his pledge to rid Venezuela of corruption -- denies covering up embezzlement amounting to millions of dollars by senior military officers in the Plan Bolivar 2000.

The military had been put in charge of the plan, which is aimed at providing basic public services to the poorest areas of Venezuela, because of doubts over the honesty of civilian officials. President Chavez said the reports on the alleged fraud are part of a campaign against his government by his political enemies.

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