BEIJING -- China's audit authority -- which has achieved popular acclaim for
its exposure of corruption, malpractice and misspent public funds -- is opening
itself to scrutiny by other government departments to fight corruption in its
A joint team of officials from government agencies of finance and supervision
is scheduled to start annual inspections of auditing departments.
The plan was announced by Liu Jiayi, deputy auditor-general of the National
Audit Office (NAO), at an inner meeting on "enhancing the construction of the
Financial income and expenditure, the use of special funds and work
performance of audit departments will be subject to the external inspections.
Results of the inspections would be published, said sources at the NAO.
The NAO has published audit reports on government departments over the past
three years, accusing them of malpractice such as misappropriation of funds, a
move welcomed by the people as "an auditing storm".
But the audit offices themselves receive no outside scrutiny as local offices
are only under the supervision of their superiors. The NAO received 440
complaints on "discipline violation" of audit offices and officials from January
2005 to August this year.
The invitation to outside inspectors was accelerated by the sudden death of a
25-year-old auditor Zhang Hongtao, who apparently ate and drank himself to death
at a banquet organized by a government department he was auditing in April.
Before the external inspection system is installed, the NAO has ordered its
provincial subordinates to begin self-examination and will send inspection teams
to check local auditing offices from November.
"The current audit system is still vulnerable to many problems, especially
corruption," said NAO auditor-general Li Jinhua. "External supervision can be
much more efficient in curbing corruption than internal supervision only."
In an interview on China Central Television last month, Li said, "We auditors
supervise others, so why shouldn't others supervise us?"
The Ministry of Supervision and Ministry of Finance will begin training
personnel for the task once government ratifies the NAO plan.