July 8, 2004
Beijing: China’s top audit body is to examine Chinese Communist Party (CCP) departments as well as more central government and state-funded institutions after massive and rampant misuse of funds was uncovered, state media said yesterday.
The National Audit Office’s (NAO) report last year found US$170 million of public money was pocketed or misused by officials, including money allocated for the 2008 Olympics.
The report showed corruption was widespread within local and central government and state-owned enterprises, with officials diverting funds allocated for specific purposes into other areas, such as building new offices or providing housing for staff.
NAO director Zhang Qiuxia said the administration would in future also audit departments and institutions of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The Communist Party is the most powerful organization in China and almost all top leaders and heads of government departments are party members.
The top legislature and national political and non-governmental organizations funded by the central government will also be audited, he said.
Until last year, NAO only audited departments and institutions of the State Council, China’s cabinet.
The audit last year showed 55 ministries and commissions under the State Council were found to have embezzled public funds.
The General Administration of Sports, for example, used 109 million yuan (US$13 million) earmarked for the organizing committee of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games since 1999 to build new apartments for its staff.
Tax evasion was also widespread, said the office, which conducts audits every year on selected state-owned enterprises and government departments.
An audit of 788 enterprises nationwide last year found that between January 2002 and December last year they had avoided paying 25.1 billion yuan in taxes.
The recent audit report drew the attention of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who warned all those responsible would be punished.
Wen called on all the departments under the State Council, governments at all levels and enterprises to draw lessons from the serious problems uncovered.