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December 25, 2009

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China reveals offenders over stimulus waste

CHINA'S most senior official investigators revealed yesterday they had dealt with 88 cases of misspending of funds in the government's 4 trillion yuan (US$586 billion) stimulus package a year after its introduction.

The cases involved 198 Party officials, said Wang Wei, vice minister of supervision and a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Wang, speaking at a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, cited four examples of how government money was misspent:

Leaders of Gaoping District, of Nanchong City in the southwest Sichuan Province, were given warnings or fired for awarding a 2 million yuan hospital-demolition project to a company in violation of tendering and bidding laws.

Officials of Datong City, in Shanxi Province of north China, received warnings for using part of 760,000 yuan intended for an airport expansion to buy a sport utility vehicle.

Top officials in charge of the airport received a demerit in their official records and the SUV was auctioned, Wang said.

Leaders of the water resources bureau of the Changjiang Li Autonomous County, in the southern Hainan Province, received warnings or were fired for helping project contractors accept a 190,000 yuan payment by making a false report about a conservation project.

Officials of Jili District, of Luoyang City in central China's Henan Province, received warnings for approving a substandard sewage plant.

Wang said investigations held 39 officials accountable, of whom 26 were dismissed, six suspended from their posts, one resigned and six made public apologies.

Authorities penalized 141 officials and referred 12 for prosecution for violating regulations in implementing the stimulus package, according to Wang.

The cases stemmed from inspections by the Ministry of Supervision, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and the National Audit Office.

In November 2008, the four ministries formed a group to supervise and inspect government acts in implementing the stimulus package.

Meanwhile, the NAO, after an investigation in September and October, announced it had found no cases of stimulus cash going to high-polluting and high-energy-consuming sectors, or sectors with overcapacity.

Auditors found no major waste or loss of stimulus money and the implementation of the package was generally good, said Dong Dasheng, vice chief auditor of the NAO.

However, some problems were detected, he said.

Substandard construction and diversions of stimulus money for other purposes were among other main problems, Dong said.


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