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Li urges tight watch on govt audits

By Zhao Yinan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-18 07:46

Premier says function plays 'irreplaceable role in clean and honest' administration

Premier Li Keqiang has urged auditors to keep a tight watch on corruption in an inspection tour of the National Audit Office on Monday.

It is the first time that Li has inspected a subordinate administration of the State Council as the premier, underlining the significance of the auditing work, an expert said.

"Auditing plays an irreplaceable role in constructing a clean and honest administration, and no one can disrupt an auditor's work with one's power and influence," Li said during the tour at the National Audit Office on Monday morning.

Auditors should exert tight control over power and help construct a clean government and expose those who use power to fill one's own pocket, he said.

Li urged auditors to keep a close eye on the government's bank accounts, which contain the public's money and should only be used for the public.

"Only when the government is simple and clean, will the money used for the public increase. New construction of government buildings is also strictly forbidden," Li said, urging auditors to uncover irregularities in public spending on receptions, overseas trips and vehicle maintenance.

"Auditing reports should be detailed and released to the public in a comprehensible manner. The fundamental method in curbing corruption is to build a supervision system under which officials cannot and dare not take bribes."

Li inspected audits of administrative spending and poverty alleviation spending in particular.

The premier has vowed to crack down on corruption and practice frugality in government affairs since he took over the administration in March.

At his first news conference as premier in March, Li pledged that no new government buildings would be built during his administration, the number of people on the government payroll would be reduced and the amount of public spending on receptions, vehicles, and overseas trips would decrease.

The National Audit Office has uncovered many irregularities in recent years. In a report last week, it said local government debt in 36 areas had reached 3.85 trillion yuan ($627.8 billion) by 2012, an increase of 12.94 percent from 2010.

Ma Jun, a professor of public affairs management from Sun Yat-sun University in Guangzhou, said auditing is a mirror that can reflect the mistakes and problems in government work.

He said although the audit office and anti-corruption authorities have a different function, they are similar in terms of their role in curbing the misuse of public funding.

"Auditing controls government officials by supervising its money. Compared with other government administrations, the audit office is not very powerful. Li's visit can promote the social status of auditors in a way that supports them in finding problems in the work of other government departments," he said.

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