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“Inspections on Local Governments” to be Taken to Constitutional Court

“Inspections on Local Governments” to be Taken to Constitutional Court

Posted June. 10, 2005 06:44,   


The Constitutional Court will decide the legitimacy of the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI)’s full-scale inspections of local governments. The “Association of Chiefs of Cities, Counties and Districts Nationwide” (chairman: Gangnam District Chief Kwon Mun-yong), an organization consisting of the heads of 234 elementary local governments, held a board meeting on June 9 in Gwangju and agreed to demand an authority dispute judgment over the recent BAI inspection from the Constitutional Court.

An authority dispute judgment is a procedure designed to settle disputes over authority between state agencies or between a state agency and a local government. The BAI inspection can be cancelled or nullified if the Constitutional Court recognizes it as a BAI action beyond its powers.

The association argued in its resolution that “the BAI inspection has quite obscure purposes when it comes to the liable agencies, its range, nature and methods,” adding that the inspection “seriously undermines the essence of local self-government and runs counter to the Participatory Government’s concept of local decentralization.”

Ahead of next year’s local elections, the Board of Audit and Inspection is planning to hold blanket inspections of 16 metropolitan local governments and 234 elementary local governments for one year starting this month.

Lawyer Kang Yong-seok of “Nextro,” a law office, is preparing for a lawsuit on behalf of the Association. “The Board of Audit and Inspection is abusing its right to inspection. Rather than inspecting individual irregularities or wrongful exercises of authority, it is inspecting work activities in their entirety of all local governments, and is even requesting data from as far back as 10 years ago.”

The opposition Grand National Party (GNP) is also working on countermeasures against the BAI inspection, stating that “this investigation is targeting local government chiefs belonging to the opposition party, with the next year’s local elections drawing near.” Among 234 heads of elementary local governments, 149 chiefs of cities, counties and districts were publicly nominated by the Grand National Party.

Jung-Eun Lee Seung-Ho Jung lightee@donga.com shjung@donga.com