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[Editorial] Lawmakers Uncover Cases of Tax Squandering After Just One Day of Inspections

[Editorial] Lawmakers Uncover Cases of Tax Squandering After Just One Day of Inspections

Posted September. 23, 2005 07:33,   


Yesterday was the first day of the National Assembly`s administrative inspections and already numerous cases of squandering people`s hard-earned tax money have been spotted.

The 975.3 billion won Hantan River dam construction project jumped in cost to 2.791 trillion won, almost tripling its original cost estimate. Moreover, since the project did not undergo normal procurement procedures, there is the concern that a halt to the construction would bring about a penalty for breach of contract.

It was also discovered that the National Treasury pays the Industrial Corporation, which is sitting around due to a lack of research for demand, 10 billion won a year. The national land network, costing 97.1 billion won, only works in Seoul and Jeju. In addition, owing to careless preliminary inspections, 190 large construction projects have been delayed an average period of 3.5 years, and that each has cost 100 billion won more that originally estimated.

Among people who are classified as destitute and receive 4.3 trillion won in Basic Livelihood Aid from the National Treasury annually, 85 people have traveled overseas more than 100 times in five years. 1,296 people with financial asset over 50 million won, and 234 people with more than 100 million won have received aid.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has assigned research projects to professors who have misappropriated the research money. It has also been discovered that funds that the Ministry of Science and Technology has financed, about 100 million won, are recording minus earning rates in general, and it is evaluated that recovery of the principal would be difficult.

The size of the budgetary waste and misuse is bigger when it is related to the loosely planned projects designed to strengthen the military. SPIDER, a military communications network developed by the Army, had a problem of overlapping frequencies that cost 40 billion won more to fix. The Navy spent 686.9 billion won on cruise missiles for its fleet without test-firing them first. If the delayed test in November encounters trouble, additional tax money will need to be poured into the project.

IDM, a data link device that is in 130 of the Air Force`s core KF-16 fighter jets, has been sitting around useless for five years because it has not been updated in a timely manner. IDM, which receives information regarding the battle situation from the U.S. Air Force, is worth over tens of billion won. The F-15K, which will be deployed from the end of this year, has not acquired its own frequency and this impedes the fighter planes’ core capacity. This project used 5.4 trillion won of taxpayers` hard-earned money.

People are screaming because of their tax burden, and yet the government is squandering its tax revenue. Last year, each ministry continued the practice of scrambling to use up their budget money at year’s end. The Presidential Office spent 737 million won, including a purchase of television set for motor vehicles (nine million won), during the end of the year alone.

When Park Geun-hye, Chairperson of the Grand National Party pointed out that "the government should cut its spending," during a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on September 7, President Roh Moo-hyun responded by saying, "Suggest which budget items to cut." Why is President Roh covering his ears when it comes budget misuse and overuse?