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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
China audit uncovers corruption
Chinese construction worker
Building office blocks was one way of spending central budget cash
Chinese government officials lost more than $1.5bn (800m) last year through corruption and poor tax collection, China's National Audit Office has said.

State news agency Xinhua said the office found that 48 central government departments misappropriated 5.51bn yuan ($685m; 376m) from the central budget.

Another 6.65bn yuan was lost through poor tax collection methods.

But auditor general Li Jinhua said the central budget was in generally good shape with better budgetary controls.

The number of people punished was also down sharply from 2004.

'Inner supervision'

A total of 176 people were punished in 106 cases, falling from the 762 people given criminal or disciplinary punishments in 2004.

The decline was due to "the enhanced inner supervision by government departments," Mr Li said in his report.

Nine central government departments embezzled a total 176m yuan of central government funds by tactics that included reporting fabricated projects.

Another 18 departments took 702m yuan of central budget cash or other funds on building offices or other personal expenses.

And seven departments got 360m yuan worth of central budgetary funds by hiding their revenue or fabricating expenditures, the auditor said.

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