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Auditors keep eye on quake funds
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The National Audit Office has sent more than 1,000 state officials to the earthquake-hit Sichuan province, aiming to keep track of how post-quake reconstruction funds are being utilized, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Auditors will try to track a total of 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion), sanctioned for more than 200,000 construction projects in the quake-battered province, and aim to bring the lives of survivors in 51 counties back on track within two to three years, the Beijing-based China Youth Daily reported.

As of now, 27 audit teams are working at the reconstruction sites, Lu Huasheng, deputy director of the department of fixed assets investment audit in the National Audit Office (NAO), told the report.

Lu said auditors of NAO's four special commissioner's offices in Chengdu, Xi'an, Lanzhou and Chongqing are responsible for checking 400 billion yuan of central government's investment projects.

Twenty provincial or autonomous regional audit offices are responsible for keeping track of 70 billion yuan of targeted assistance projects, while Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces are in charge of auditing provincial finance funds and funds from public donations.

As of March, the audit department had conducted checks on more than 1,500 post-quake restoration and reconstruction projects, involving 50 billion yuan, and submitted over 500 audit reports of their findings.

The auditing has mainly focused on the quality of ongoing construction of primary and middle school buildings, which, as per the plan, were expected to be finished in September, the paper reported.

During an audit inspection of a school building project, auditor Dong Bo and his colleagues found the wall tiles were not up to standard. The department banned the use of the tiles and tore down the wall.

"The auditing has not delayed our company's reconstruction project and has only helped us save money," said Xiao Min, the deputy general manager of a subsidiary of the country's largest turbine maker Dongfang Turbine Co Ltd.

(China Daily April 29, 2009)

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