China's National Audit Office (NAO) has exposed a number of corruption cases, involving the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
Embezzlement of funds dedicated to special projects valued at 6.307 million yuan (US$760,000) was uncovered in the MLR's 2003 financial budget, according to a NAO report unveiled Monday.
The auditing report said the funds designed to special projects were used as wages and bonuses to ministry functionaries or to make up administrative expenses between 2000 and 2003,
Meanwhile, fees worth 4.18 million yuan (US$500,000) in total, charged by the SBSM has not promptly turned over to the central government, noted the auditing outcome report of the SBSM's 2003 financial budget.
Moreover, auditors found 30 clues relating to illegal cases with the ICBC, involving as much as 6.9 billion yuan (US$830 million) of misuse funds, added the auditing outcome report on ICBC's assets and liabilities in 2002.
From October 2003 to February 2004, the NAO audited the financial accounts of eight ministries and commissions directly under the State Council, or the central Chinese government.
The report also acknowledged that the people concerned in the MLR, SBSM, ICBC cases have been criticized, penalized or fired, and part of the embezzled fund has been returned. Citing an example, 368 ICBC liable officials or staffers have been punished and 42 others dismissed.
On June 24, Auditor-General Li Jinhua told the national legislature that embezzlement of public funds was discovered in 55ministries and commissions under the State Council.
According to the auditing report, a total of 41 ministries and commissions impropriated as much as 1.42 billion yuan (US$185 million) of money earmarked to special projects for construction of residential and office buildings for their own use.
Twenty-four cases laid bare by the auditing departments have been looked into meticulously and dealt with by the supervision departments over the past year," the official with the Ministry of Supervision said, noting that the probe into seven cases has been concluded.
The central government increased its transparency of its administrative procedures and tried very hard to cut the administrative costs by the means of auditing the implementation of central budget, experts said.
Premier Wen Jiabao urged all government functionaries to cooperate with auditing and supervision departments in July, calling for the institution of more rigid and stricter mechanism of accountability. Departments and officials with powers should be held accountable for their misdeeds, Wen said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2004)