Audit chief: We'll keep telling all

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-15 06:43

China's top auditor has pledged to continue publicizing audit results from government departments, particularly those of the central government, in a continuous push to regulate and enhance transparency of government spending.

"Fiscal revenue comes mainly from taxpayers. There should be an explanation to the taxpayers of how the money is spent," Li Jinhua, auditor-general of the National Audit Office (NAO), said Tuesday at a meeting in Beijing of fiscal chiefs of central government departments.

"The only way to explain this is to publish audit results, except information involving state secrets," said Li, who has become a national icon for starting a crusade against irregularities in government spending, a major concern of the public.

The NAO has identified 14.6 billion yuan (US$1.85 billion) of funds misused by central government departments over the last two years.

The irregularities included the National Development and Reform Commission using public money to build houses for its staff and the Ministry of Education investing in unlicensed projects.

Li said in many countries details of national budgets were available in bookstores. They showed how much money was allocated to every department and for what purpose.

He said the office would again name central government departments with fiscal transgressions in a report to a national legislature session next year. This appeared to quash speculation that the office will stop mentioning names for fear of offending too many people.

The office had focused on irregularities in central government department budgets because of the example they set, said Li.

The practice of announcing the irregularities, known as an "audit storm", has proved effective in promoting image-conscious government departments to mend their ways.

However, Li said government departments would be given more than a month to conduct self-examinations before this year's audit.

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