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KEPCO Criticized for Appointees with Close Ties to Ruling Party

KEPCO Criticized for Appointees with Close Ties to Ruling Party

Posted July. 09, 2005 03:06,   


Because a number of people with close connection with the ruling party have been appointed as full-time or part-time auditors at the Korea Electronic Power Corporation (KEPCO), there are increasing complaints that the public corporation has gone too far with its revolving door personnel policy.

Auditor positions at five out of six power generator subsidiaries of KEPCO are filled by people well connected with the ruling party, inviting the criticism that KEPCO is a center of the revolving door personnel policy.

KEPCO recently appointed Gwak Jin-eop, the former deputy commissioner of the National Tax Service, as a full-time auditor, and Hwang Seok-hee, the former president of Peace Bank, and Yang Seung-suk, the former principal of the Armed Forces Nursing Academy, as part-time auditors.

Executives, including auditors of KEPCO, are nominated by the minister of Planning and Budget based on the results of recommendations and votes at shareholders meetings. They are finally appointed by the president.

Gwak, an incoming auditor, became the topic of malicious gossip after Geon-pyeong, the elder brother of President Roh, made remarks to support him as the next commissioner of the National Tax Service in an interview with a weekly newsmagazine.

Geon-pyeong said “Gwak is the best candidate for the position of commissioner in terms of ability as well as leadership,” adding, “It would be called reverse discrimination if he is ruled out in selecting candidates for the position just because he came from the same region as the president.”

Hwang, a newly appointed part-time auditor and the former president of the Peace Bank, is also working as the chairman of the supporters’ association in Gwangwon-do for the Uri Party. The Gangwan operation of the Uri Party is led by lawmaker Lee Gwang-jae.

Yang, another incoming auditor, was defeated by Rhee In-je, a lawmaker of the United Liberal Democrats, in the general election last year when he ran as the Uri Party candidate in the Nonsan-Geumsan-Gyeryong district.

In April, controversy broke out as Gwon Oh-seong, the former head of the organizing team for the Geochang farmers’ association and the PR director in Gyeongnam of Uri Party was appointed as a part-time director.

KEPCO offers full-time auditing positions with more than 100 million won in annual salary along with a car, an office and a secretary. It also pays 2.5 million won in funding for official affairs to part time auditors and directors.

Chang-Won Kim changkim@donga.com