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Auditing Outcome on SARS Fund Released

Chinese government departments at various levels earmarked a special fund of 14.093 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion) for SARS prevention and control by July 31 last year, while related organizations had received social donations valued 4.152 billion yuan (US$500 million), according to National Audit Office (NAO) Tuesday.

The NAO decided to publicize detailed various auditing outcome reports to the general public from this year, which were usually submitted only to the State Council, or the central Chinese government.

Between July and August of 2003, the NAO launched a special nationwide audit on implementation of the SARS budgets and distribution of social donations around China, noted the audit report released on the office's website.

The report shows 12.761 billion yuan (US$1.54 billion) have been spent for SARS prevention and control across the country by July 31, including special funds and social donations.

The total social donations include a cash of 2.442 billion yuan(US$ 295 million) and goods and materials worth 1.71 billion yuan (US$210 million), and 3.166 billion of the total had been distributed, according to the report. 

The audit covers 5,533 hospitals, 219 emergency rescue centers,1,190 disease control centers, and 16,380 schools, neighborhood communities, rural towns and township, added the report.

Thanks to the rigid supervision by the relevant departments, acknowledged the report, the overall use and management of government capital and social donations is good and no major cases of embezzlement were discovered in this audit.

Nevertheless, some minor irregularities were still found during the auditing with regard to donation reception and distribution, and such irregularities have been put to the right after audit, said the report.

In recent years, China has beefed up financial supervision on the government departments and state-owned enterprises. The NAO has instituted a mechanism for periodical release of its auditing reports on related departments, which have drawn much attention from people and media alike in China.

The NAO recovered some 14.82 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) last year from auditing more than 130,000 public units throughout the country.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2004)

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