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Auditor needs 'bite,' not 'bark'

CHINESE lawmakers are pushing for the national auditor to "bite" when it comes to breaches of the law by government officials and agencies instead of delivering a "bark" that leaves no impression.

Legislators said the annual audit report delivered on Wednesday by Liu Jiayi, head of the National Audit Office, failed to name and shame individuals and government agencies for the illegal use of funds and embezzlement of state assets.

In a 24-page report delivered to the members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Liu omitted the full names of individuals and agencies that violated laws and regulations.

He used phrases such as "a few departments," "some agencies" or "somebody" to refer to those who illegally allocated public funds, spent extravagantly on conferences and official trips and engaged in other illegal practices, making it hard for lawmakers to identify them.

In one instance, when reporting serious legal and regulatory breaches, Liu described the case as follows: "The former general manager of a company whose surname was Li, who was in league with many managers in three subordinate companies, had seized, transferred and embezzled more than 18 million yuan (US$2.6 million) between 2002 and 2004."

Liu's predecessor, Li Jinhua, won fame by identifying those who misused government funds.

An audit report should not gloss over the facts or avoid giving full names when it comes to criticism, and audits should never be too "gentle," legislator Huang Zhendong said yesterday.

Nan Zhenzhong, another lawmaker, said audit departments should not hide the facts from the legislature, except for protecting state secrets.

Phrases such as "a few departments," "some agencies" or "somebody" should be avoided and the report should not make members of the NPC Standing Committee "do crossword puzzles," he said.

Lawmaker Wu Xiaoling called for increased transparency by government agencies in fulfilling their responsibilities.

Individuals and agencies that violate the rules would face much more pressure if their audit information was made public instead of being asked to report to the State Council, China's Cabinet, she said.

Chief auditor Liu Jiayi said on Wednesday that more than US$26.7 billion yuan in public funds embezzled last year had been recovered.


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