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Is the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Compensating People for Damages?

Is the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Compensating People for Damages?

Posted August. 17, 2005 06:27,   


The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs is being blamed for compensating people in violation of government policy while carrying out a project of creating a cemetery for veterans in the metropolitan area after it failed to resist complaints from them. The move is also pointed out as possibly provoking people in areas where cemeteries are planned to take collective action.

The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) announced on August 16 that it asked that three employees of the ministry be punished on charges of paying 1.5 billion won in compensation to local people in order to ease their resistance in establishing a 92,000 pyeong cemetery for veterans in Seolseong-myeon, Icheon City, Gyeonggi Province.

The project began in 2002 to create a memorial park for war veterans and discharged soldiers who were on duty for more than 10 years. But it is two years behind schedule as people in six nearby towns have form a group to collectively oppose the plan, arguing that “it threatens to degrade the environment and generate traffic congestion.”

According to the BAI and the ministry, the ministry donated 1.5 billion won in April last year to fund the construction of an industrial complex at the request of Icheon’s local citizens as part of its efforts to appease them.

The ministry secured the money by changing the purpose of the working expenses -500 million won from a reserve fund for the project, and the remaining one billion won by reducing the number of outdoor urn towers from 15,000 to 10,000.

The BAI pointed out that the ministry violated the government’s policy in that “compensation by cash for easing collective complaints is prohibited,” and its guidelines for execution of the annual budget set a bad example in carrying out a state-sponsored project.

The auditing agency added that the project is undergoing difficulties as people in Danseong-myeon, Sancheong-gun, Gyeongnam Province demanded compensation this February. The plan to construct a cemetery for veterans in Southern areas 170,000 pyeong large is being pushed in this area.

An official at the ministry explained that “it is a subsidy given to them after a review by the Ministry of Planning and Budget when the delay of the project generated 1.5 billion won in annual losses” and “we asked the BAI for reconsideration.”

Kang-Myoung Chang tesomiom@donga.com