CHINA took coordinated steps yesterday to combat potential waste and fraud in the implementation of its 100 billion yuan (US$14.7 billion) economic stimulus package for the fourth quarter.Two dozen inspection teams will be dispatched soon to locations around China to follow projects funded under the effort, which is designed to keep the country's economy expanding in the face of the global slowdown.The inspectors will "check whether the money is used to build office buildings or guest houses of Party and government departments," a central government notice said yesterday.Projects built for "image or achievement" that "waste both money and manpower must be prevented," said the notice, issued jointly by the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Supervision, the Ministry of Finance and the National Audit Office.The notice also urged inspectors to pay close attention to project quality. Investment in smokestack industries or those that create excess industrial capacity must also be prevented.The notice put central and local government departments under scrutiny and ordered inspectors to determine if any funds are held up, misappropriated, intercepted, embezzled or falsely claimed.Emphasizing that the funds must be used "safely, transparently and efficiently," the notice said inspectors will check all aspects of fund use, including project planning, assessment and approval, procurement and construction."Officials who are found to be negligent, or are cheating, taking bribes in fund management or intercepting, misappropriating or embezzling project funds will receive Party or administrative punishment or face criminal charges," the notice said.It also asked central government departments to act promptly to implement the stimulus package.
The National Development and Reform Commission must "lose no time" in formulating investment plans, and the Ministry of Finance must allocate money to appropriate projects within one month after the plans are made, according to the notice.Announced by the State Council on November 9, the 100-billion-yuan additional central government investment for this year is expected to be used in social welfare projects, infrastructure construction, environmental protection and industrial restructuring.
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