Audit office to oversee land deals

Updated: 2006-11-21 21:18

China's National Audit Office will increase its inspections of land transactions and crack down on corruption in the transfer of land ownership, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

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The move is part of government efforts to slow overly rapid fixed-asset- investment growth, and follows the Ministry of Finance saying Monday it will double the fees on land transfers for construction purposes starting Jan. 1.

An Linghu, deputy director of the NAO, said the audit office will "investigate corruption cases involving large amounts of money and high-level officials, as well as cases leading to the waste of money and energy," according to the Xinhua report.

The office will target for inspection financial trading, construction, the ownership and transfer of state-owned enterprises and the ownership and transfer of land, the report said.

Linghu said officials working in audit departments must also be supervised. Anyone who violates laws and disciplines will be "severely punished," he said.

China's urban fixed-asset investment in the January-October period rose 26.8% from the same period last year, decelerating for a fourth straight month. But government officials have cautioned that a rebound in investment is likely given abundant liquidity.

As well as restrictions on land use, Beijing has also increased interest rates twice and banks' reserve requirement ratio three times this year to squeeze liquidity.

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