BEIJING -- China's auditing authority said Thursday it had so far found three cases of the illegal use of quake relief funds involving nearly 300,000 yuan (US$43,478).
The findings were published on the website of the National Audit Office (NAO) as the first document about audit results involving the huge relief funds for regions hit by the massive earthquake in southwestern China exactly a month ago.
The NAO said malpractice was found in a local office of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) and a branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Mianyang, one of the worst-hit areas.
The local non-governmental industry and commerce association in Anyang, Henan Province, was found to have used 271,100 yuan from donations without authorization to buy relief goods.
About 41,500 yuan was spent on apparel purchased from the younger brother of an ACFIC official and fake invoices were presented along with the goods. Auditors discovered cast-offs among a batch of clothes dispatched by the official to Guangyuan, Sichuan Province.
The NAO said the local government of Anyang had started investigating the issue so that relevant people could held responsible.
The Fucheng ICBC sub-branch in Mianyang was found to have bought 56 pairs of Nike sneakers, worth 28,500 yuan, for its employees with relief funds. Invoices stated they had bought umbrellas and raincoats.
The branch had returned the misappropriated funds, the NAO said.
The third case noted by the NAO involved people stealing money in the name of quake relief funds by sending text messages to cell phone users asking them to remit donations into specific banking accounts.
The NAO said it had brought in the public security departments to do the investigations and some bank accounts had been frozen by the police.
The national auditor said it would publish auditing results regularly every month following Thursday's move, which was meant to make results open to public scrutiny as soon as they made some progress.
The government disaster relief fund had reached 23.61 billion yuan as of Thursday at noon, while domestic and foreign donations totaled 44.85 billion yuan in cash and goods.
The State Council had asked the audit offices to track both government departments and non-governmental organizations as to their handling of government funds and donations and publicize the results regularly.