Huge haul of bogus invoices

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 12:00am

The Hefei municipal government has uncovered fake invoices totalling 700 million yuan.

The documents were submitted by more than 1,000 officials who helped clean up the city's finances over the past two years, the People's Daily reported yesterday.

The crackdown, part of the mainland's attempts to regulate local government finances, exposed holes in the finances of 107 villages under the administration of the Anhui provincial capital.

In September 2002, the Hefei municipal government launched an investigation into all village accounts. It was found that the proportion of fake invoices in most villages was 60 per cent or more. In some villages it was as high as 80 per cent. The 140,000 fake invoices found had a combined value of 700 million yuan, the report said.

The single largest invoice was for 1.4 million yuan and the oldest fake document dated back 32 years.

An official taking part in the cleanup said loopholes in the existing system and a lack of effective monitoring had resulted in messy government accounts.

Changfeng county Commission for Discipline Inspection secretary Tang Yigan said it was difficult to carry out internal monitoring because village commissions lacked the power and means to verify how government money was spent.

Some senior village officials also said the government had long realised the problem, but nobody had been willing to take the risk of disclosing it, so it was passed on.