Nearly 130b yuan in public funds misspent in first eight months: report Auditors uncovered nearly 130 billion yuan in misused public funds during the first eight months of the year and reported more than 100 government officials to prosecutors, local media reported. The Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald, one of the most popular business newspapers on the mainland, on Saturday quoted an anonymous source from the National Audit Office as saying auditors across the country had found that 129.4 billion yuan of public money had been misspent by 54,000 government units and state-owned enterprises. The report said 38 party and government leaders and 92 officials had been reported to judicial authorities for 'bearing direct responsibility' for the misappropriation of more than 6 billion yuan of the misused funds. Mainland auditing authorities have been conducting a so-called 'audit storm' during the past few years to expose corruption and misuse of public funds as a sign of Beijing's determination to fight graft. But many mainlanders have complained that the officials responsible were either not punished or the public not informed of action taken against them. According to the latest report by the National Audit Office, published last week, no central government ministries or organisations were found to be clean of financial malpractices - ranging from budgetary abuses to spending state funds on staff housing. Given that 129.4 billion yuan in public funds was found to have been misused during the first eight months of the year, it is likely the full-year figure will be lower than the 290 billion yuan in misspent public funds uncovered last year. However, the source told the paper that the figure could also increase by December because authorities would conduct audits of more central government organs in charge of the most public money. The paper did not provide details of the misused funds or the investigated cadres, but it said one of the main problems was state-owned banks 'granting loans in violation of rules and regulations'. It said loans granted to the real estate sector from every state-owned commercial bank grew rapidly in the first half of the year, although the central government had ordered the institutions to curb lending to the industry. The paper said all state banks had reached their annual loan quota by the end of last month. Nanjing Audit University professor Yin Ping cautioned that the amount of misused funds could be incorrect because there were no official nationwide calculations. 'The state audit office counts only the misused funds it uncovers. Local audit offices do their own [separately].' Professor Yin said the public should not expect financial audits to make a substantial contribution in the fight against corruption as curbing graft was just a 'part-time job' for auditors. 'Audits can identify corruption only after it has happened,' Professor Yin said. 'The fight against corruption is a systemic project, and prevention and punishment are also very important.'