China military to tighten building controls in anti-graft drive

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's military said on Thursday it would tighten controls over the construction and sale of buildings to ensure proper accounting and transparency for all financial transactions as part of a wider government anti-corruption drive.

China launched a crackdown on rampant graft in the military in the late 1990s, banning the People's Liberation Army from engaging in business. Corruption has worsened in recent years however, due to a lack of transparency and checks and balances.

The latest rules, printed on the front page of the official PLA Daily, mandate that money from the sale of military buildings must be handed over to the military fully and in a timely manner.

New building work can only be carried out according to pre-approved plans and must not stray from them in scope or size, state the rules, which go into effect on March 1.

"The approval process must be open and transparent and supervised effectively," the newspaper said. "Make decisions in accordance with the law and effectively prevent corruption."

The short statement gave no specifics for how the new rules are to be carried out or enforced, nor did it mention the scale of the problem the army is confronting.

The same newspaper reported this month that illegal occupants of 27,000 military apartments had been cleared out over a seven-month period last year.

The newspaper made no mention of any punishment for officers who abused their powers and illegally occupied military homes.

President Xi Jinping has made fighting graft a top priority of his administration and targeted official waste and extravagance, seeking to assuage public anger over corruption and restore faith in the Communist Party.

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