CHINA / National

Inappropriate use of public funds uncovered
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-31 09:12

China's auditors said on Saturday they have uncovered inappropriate use of over 32 billion yuan (US$4 billion) in the first half of this year, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The National Audit Office found that 22.3 billion yuan (US$2.75 billion) was used in violation of financial regulations and 9.9 billion yuan (US$1.22 billion) was wasted after auditing 184 institutions in the first six months.

The officers said they had sent 98 cases to the judicial and discipline sectors, with 252 people involved in embezzlement and other inappropriate uses of public money.

Through auditing, the office had directly saved 630 million yuan (US$78 million) of public money.

The office also offered 650 pieces of advice to the audited institutions, urging them to improve management and increase benefits.

About one week ago, after auditing 784 key agriculture-related projects, the office discovered that 19.2 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) of government funds for supporting agriculture was embezzled and 890 million yuan (US$110 million) wasted in 2004 and 2005.

The Beijing Audit Office on Wednesday presented the Beijing Municipal People's Congress with an audit report on the city's budgetary revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 2005, exposing many cases of inappropriate use of public fund.

The office found 19 departments embezzled public funds of 174 million yuan (US$21.5 million) and used the money to construct office buildings and buy cars.

Seventy key tax-paying enterprises evaded taxes of 300 million yuan (US$37 million), and 23 enterprises did not pay taxes on time.

Five departments excessively drew public funds of 3.09 million yuan (US$380,000) by lying about the number of employees and area of dormitory heating.

The office discovered that four universities, including North China University of Technology, Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, Beijing International Studies University and Beijing Film Academy, had illegally charged fees of 1.89 million yuan to students in the 2004 fiscal year.

In recent years, Chinese audit organs have improved their work and achieved substantial progress in supervising the government, State-owned enterprises and public institutions.

Since 1999, the National Audit Office has launched several "audit storms" by reporting to the top legislature budgetary abuses among dozens of central government departments, involving billions of yuan.

China's newly revised Audit Law came into effect on June 1, enlarging the scope of audits and increasing the auditors' law enforcement abilities.

In the past, only State-owned enterprises fell in the scope of auditing so as to guarantee that state assets would not be abused.

The new law stipulates that this scope be expanded to cover the State holding companies and financial institutions.

The office said they would strengthen their work in agriculture-related fields in the second half of the year and disclose those luxurious projects that harm people's interests.

(China Daily 07/31/2006 page2)


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