P.L.A. puts out new rules to curb graft

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 12:00am


The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has issued new regulations to 'better manage the army's assets', in an apparent effort to crack down on rampant corruption in the army, whose budget has boasted double-digit growth in the past few years.

Approved by the army's Central Military Commission, which is chaired by President Hu Jintao, the proposals urge all military departments to better utilise assets and budgetary funds, particularly involving money that is used to implement major programmes, the PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.

The proposals, titled Further Improving the Management of the Army's Assets, were jointly put forward by the PLA's General Staff, General Political Department, General Logistic Department, and General Armament Department. They stress that the management of military assets must be done in a transparent, fair and regular manner, and under the supervision of departments concerned, according to the report.

In a separate story yesterday, the newspaper quoted Sun Huangtian, chief of finance for the PLA's General Logistics Department, as saying that the proposal was aimed at preventing waste by enhancing the army's logistics co-ordination, as well as at setting up a comprehensive audit and supervision system.

Sun said that the proposal had also detailed five key tasks to: better utilise assets and apply new resources in an efficient way; set up a unified asset-management system among all departments; check and change ownership of fixed assets that were originally owned by military units before they were merged and dropped; introduce a fair assessment mechanism for transferred assets; and gradually establish a comprehensive asset-management system.

This is the second set of proposals related to asset management that the army has issued in the past five months. In late March, President Hu approved new financial management regulations for the army that went into effect on May 1.

The PLA has gone on a multibillion-dollar spending spree to upgrade hardware and improve salaries, leaving significant room for financial irregularities. Also, the military's culture of secrecy prevents an auditing system from being effective.

A retired PLA senior colonel in Shanghai who declined to be named said that the army's privileged secrecy had buried countless illegal deals that couldn't be checked or discovered by audit teams.

'For example, many garrison forces in prosperous provinces and cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou own a lot of valuable land in busy downtown areas, with some military leaders setting up shops outside their camp and renting them to local people to run businesses,' said the veteran.

He said military drills, which involve procurements and logistical expenses, had become hotbeds for corruption. A special investigation team was set up in May last year to audit the expenses of military drills but no corruption was reported.