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A Suspicious List Made Ahead of the Screening Process for Promotion

A Suspicious List Made Ahead of the Screening Process for Promotion

Posted December. 06, 2004 23:06,   


A personnel scandal is brewing about promotion corruption in the Korean military. It was revealed that the military authorities already had a “list of candidates for promotion” even before the actual screening process began in October. The screening process was to assess candidates for brigadier general positions. The suspicion grew worse because 48 candidates on the list (95 percent) were actually promoted to become part of a new group of 50 brigadier generals.

In response to rampant suspicion on December 6, the prosecution under the Defense Ministry, which is headed by air force colonel Kim Seok-young, issued an interim report on the matter.

According to the military investigators, a colonel at the personnel division drew up a document titled “The Present Position of Strong Candidates across the Military” on March 10 this year about six months before the screening started on October 5.

The first group of choice in the document included some 150-200 colonels out of all 1,151 candidates, and the group became smaller to include 100 on July 14 and then 70 on September 10. The final group of 50 was completed by October 3, two days before the screening process. The military authorities’ final picks were surprisingly unchanged from the “list” with just two exceptions.

The prosecution’s colonel Kim said, “The document itself is not against the law, but if it had been actually used in promoting some of the military personnel, the document is illegal.”

An insider of the military, however, protested, saying, “The ratio of the selection process was 22 to 1. So it is virtually impossible for the screening committee to finish the work within a week. That kind of drawing up a document or a list is almost routine in the military personnel division.”

The investigators are digging further into the scandal about the possibility of any influence exerted by the military leadership and of pressure from other influential figures. But the colonel, who is accused of drafting the list, remains silent.

The military prosecution point out that some of the relevant materials submitted to both the screening committee and the verification committee for promotion candidates were altered to give an unfair advantage to certain candidates. It is reported that the alterations were made on interference with a government official in the execution of his/her duties, on fabrication of official documents etc. The prosecution plans to bring three personnel field officers accused of corruption to justice.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com