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Posted August. 21, 2017 08:21,   

Updated August. 21, 2017 08:40


"Mofia," a compound word of the Ministry of Finance and mafia, was expanded to "gwanfia (bureaucrat plus mafia)" to indicate all government employees when a public uproar was erupted right after the Sewol Ferry disaster in April 2014. At that time, about 42 high-level officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs got their jobs at affiliated public agencies or associations after retirement. The number of the so-called "Nongfia (Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs plus mafia)" as the second largest after "Sanfia (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy plus mafia)" of 64. In other word, the officials have settled down in affiliated agencies by using regulations as their weapons.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon criticized retired employees of the National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service for getting their jobs at an eco-friendly certification agency on Saturday by saying that their practices are nothing more than dangerous crimes that take the advantage of expertise at the cost of public health. The prime minister pointed out the fact that several dozens of former employees at the agency are working at a private company designated as an eco-friendly agricultural product certification institute by the government. Je Yoon-kyung, spokesperson of the Minjoo Party, shifted the responsibility by saying that the former government should be solely blamed for the crisis of eggs contaminated with pesticides as it failed to have thoroughly managed food safety.

High-level government officials were extremely difficult to find their jobs at affiliated agencies and institutes after retirement since the enactment of revised public service ethics act in 2015, but the food chain of government officials-affiliated agencies-corporates based on the power of regulation still does exist. It is time to eradicate deeply rooted "nongfias." Also, we should wait and see how far the government can push for public reform, as it promised to withdraw the performance-based salary system. It also does not look good for the government to blame the former government since 100 days of the Moon administration have passed.

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com