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Friday, January 21, 2000, updated at 20:21(GMT+8)
Business Auditor Finds 125 billion yuan misused in China

The 1999 national audit in China has revealed that 125 billion yuan (about 15 billion US dollars) was misused or embezzled, according to Li Jinhua, Auditor-General of the National Audit Office (NAO).

The money should have been used for poverty-relief programs, for the construction of water conservancy projects or for resettlement of residents in the Three Gorges dam area, Li told a national audit meeting in Beijing on Thursday.

Auditing departments conducted audits in 112,000 units in the January-November period of last year, preventing 29.8 billion yuan from being misused while disclosing 1,458 criminal activities, Li said.

The audit of a poverty-relief fund which was designated to cover 592 major poor counties from 1997 to mid-1999, found that 4. 3 billion yuan had been spent on government expenditures and for constructing government and private buildings and buying cars for official and personal use, while another 2.4 billion yuan was diverted to counties which had no active poverty-relief projects. Forty-four cases involving 71 persons were discovered.

While auditing the use of a special fund for water conservancy projects across the country, the NAO found the Ministry of Water Resources misused and illegally raised three billion yuan, while another five billion yuan for resettlement of residents in Three Gorges dam area was embezzled. Fourteen people were involved, the audit found.

The NAO also audited the financial records of some 2,400 courts and 2,100 procurators above the county level, finding 81 embezzlement cases involving 5.7 billion yuan.

In addition, audits in 62 universities and colleges found some schools had unlawfully raised 4.9 billion yuan.

Others audited include two major Chinese banks, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Construction Bank of China, and some large and medium-sized State-owned enterprises.

Li Jinhua stressed that the audit authority would this year mainly focus on the Agricultural Bank of China and its branches, as well as 1,500 listed companies, monopoly enterprises, and enterprises which are reforming their ownership or in heavy debt.

The Auditor-General pledged to increase investigation of major cases and effectively deal with them in a bid to safeguard the sound development of the national economy. (Xinhua)

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