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Irrational Appeal Reviews

Posted October. 06, 2005 07:16,   


Public officials are overstepping the bounds in “overlooking each other.”

A public official may make an appeal when he/she receives disciplinary measures or disposals that are opposed to his/her intentions. Through the review process, the disciplinary measure will be changed or finalized to the original one.

However, it turned out that through the review of appeals, over half of the public officials were alleviated of their original punishments, raising criticism that the reviews “overlook corrupted public officials.” The Appeals Commission, an organization under the Civil Service Commission, is formed of a deputy minister-level chairman and four commissioners who are Level 1 public officials.

According to the report the Appeals Commission presented to the National Assembly’s Government Administration and Local Autonomy Committee on October 5, 306 of the public officials who received disciplinary measures made an appeal, and 149 (48.7 percent) of them were either repealed or commutated.

The number which accounts to an alleviated or repealed disciplinary action is increasing each year; 20.8 percent in 2003, 39.1 percent in 2004, and 48.7 percent for the first half of this year.

In particular, among the 807 public officials who received heavy disciplinary punishments such as dismissal or removal from office from 2002 to June of this year, 34.4 percent (278 people) were alleviated to suspension from office or lighter punishments and were back in office.

The objective evidence in most of these cases did not have faults, but as the Appeals Commission took extenuating circumstances in consideration, the punishments have been mitigated. The circumstances include “repented his/her errors,” “devoted to his/her duties for a long term,” “received official commendation,” and “first time in receiving disciplinary actions.”

Some others include, “It would have been hard for him/her to refuse, considering the relationship with the person who requested,” “He/she did not actively participate in the crime,” and “He/she has already received criminal punishment.”

An official at the Appeals Commission said, “When meeting the public officials during the review process, we feel piteous and usually take into consideration their circumstances. Probably from this, most public officials who receive heavy punishment are alleviated when making an appeal.”

Jong-Dae Ha orionha@donga.com