Ministry admits watch on oral panel was lax

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2007, 12:00am

The health ministry admitted yesterday it had been negligent in its supervision of the scandal-ridden National Committee for Oral Health.

A ministry audit found the committee had illegally accepted 2.08 million yuan for endorsing dental care products since 2003 and engaged in other illegal financial activities such as extending loans to an oral products factory.

The ministry only released a summary of the audit report yesterday and failed to confirm many details of reported irregularities involving the committee that had appeared in mainland media.

Health ministry spokesman Mao Qunan said: 'We shoulder certain responsibilities of negligence and we have already criticised relevant departments.'

But the comment was taken out of a transcript of the press conference posted on the ministry's website yesterday.

Mr Mao said the ministry would review other affiliated organisations to see if they had engaged in illegal activities.

The summary of the audit report released yesterday said a leader of the oral health committee had received more than 46,000 yuan in subsidies and 74,174 yuan in housing allowance in two years.

The committee also loaned 500,000 yuan to a dental care factory in Guangdong but the money was not paid back. Leaders of the committee also received subsidies for a large variety of items and opened a bank account illegally.

The summary did not mention a secret fund of more than 20 million yuan reported by mainland media earlier.

Mr Mao said the ministry would promptly clean up the problems left by the committee and deal with those responsible for the scandals.

It is not known if the committee's heads will face criminal charges.

Foul play

The National Committee for Oral Health audit

Yuan earned from endorsing health products 2.08m