Chinese auditors target on habitual offenders, supervise more public spending

The report on the 2004 central budget performance and other financial income and expenditure, was on Wednesday submitted by China's top auditor Li Jinhua to China's national legislature for deliberation.

Lawmakers found the report gave considerable coverage to those government departments that continue to improperly use the central budget after their budget abuse was exposed by the National Audit Office in last year's audit report.

The report on the 2004 central budget performance and other financial income and expenditure showed that the General Administration of Sport not only failed to correct its mistakes, which were disclosed by last year's audit report saying that the sport ministry embezzled special funds of the Olympic Committee of China to build apartments for its own staffs, but made new mistakes.

From 2003 to 2004, the sport lottery management center, a subordinate organization of the General Administration of Sport, allocated a sum of money in the name of lottery distribution fee to its two subcompanies, making the two companies reap profits of as much as 558 million yuan. Then in return, the two companies gave bonuses of as much as 37.5 million yuan to the staffs of the sport lottery management center and the General Administration of Sport.

The report also targeted at another "habitual offender"-- the Ministry of Water Resources. The report said by the end of 2003, the ministry, together with its subordinate organizations, detained the central budget as much as 1.385 billion yuan for its own use.

From 1999 to last year, the Ministry of Water Resources was constantly disclosed by the National Audit Office for embezzling public funds to build hotels and increase staff's welfare.

Li Jinhua, Auditor-General of the National Audit Office said most governmental departments established programs for reform after being caught stealing money. Only a few departments failed to reform themselves.

"As long as they do not correct their mistakes, we will never give up auditing them," said the hawkish top auditor.

Li said that some central governmental departments dare to embezzle public funds because supervision is weak.

As of March 2005, 762 officials had received punishment and were sent to judicial departments for further investigation, as their embezzlement of public funds was disclosed in the report on the 2003 central budget performance and other financial income and expenditure.

In addition to targeting on "habitual offenders", the report also discussed the auditing results of public-funded hospitals and universities.

The report said 18 public universities improperly collected fees of as much as 868 million yuan when recruiting students. And 10 Beijing-based hospitals accepted kickbacks of as much as 300 million yuan from pharmaceutical and medical companies. China's four major financial management companies were also found to be illegally using public funds of as much as 715 million yuan.

"At an earlier time, Li Jinhua promised to audit all the public- funded units. Now his office is performing his promise," said lawmaker Zheng Gongcheng, who is also a professor at the People's University.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---