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China to step up auditing to ensure stability

world Updated: Feb 19, 2009 14:09 IST

AP
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China is deploying government auditors to make sure officials don’t steal or waste money from its multi billion dollar economic stimulus package, the country’s top auditor told reporters on Thursday.

China’s 4 trillion yuan ($ 586 billion) plan, announced in November, calls for pumping money into the economy through spending on public works, including large airport, highway and railway projects. Such construction projects have been magnets for corruption.

“The top priority of this year’s economic work is to ensure steady and relatively fast economic growth,” Liu Jiayi, auditor general of the National Audit Office of China, told a news conference.

“Audit supervision is the immune system ensuring the sound economic and social development of the country.”

So far, auditors have not discovered any major problems but there is room for improvement, Liu said, citing cases in poor areas where funding has not been delivered in full or on time.

Liu also said audits of banks last year uncovered 20 cases with “serious irregularities and violations,” such as sweetheart loans, that involved 6 billion yuan ( $ 878 million).

Ten of the cases involved China’s three major banks Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd, Bank of China Ltd and the Construction Bank of China Ltd.