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Corruption Panel Clarifies Golf Rules

Posted March. 29, 2006 08:01,   


The Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption (KICAC) has taken a step back from its decision to prohibit government officials from playing golf with “associates” by scaling back its definition of the term “associates.”

Kim Sung-ho, the secretary superintendent of the KICAC, laid out the new criteria at a press conference yesterday, defining those with whom “government officials cannot play golf with,” in a reversal of the original criteria the committee announced just five days ago.

Kim narrowed down the range of allowable golf partners to “those with ‘realistic, direct, or personal ties’ to governmental affairs.”

This new definition excludes people associated with work that has yet to be addressed, those who may exercise indirect influence, and those who play golf for public causes, among others.

The KICAC added, “In the case of top government officials, either in charge of or assisting in public policy making, playing golf with other officials or with civil organizations and persons representing public opinion for gathering public insight, restrictions will not be imposed.”

According to this criterion, golf restrictions on officials will be hardly changed. Even in the past, golf for bribery was banned, and in determining its relations to a particular job, the criteria set out this time by the KICAC, such as actuality and directness, was taken into account.

On the KICAC’s change in stance, Superintendent Kim blamed the press, saying, “the Commission, which had never enforced a full-scale ban on golf, had its intentions distorted.” In response to the reporters who came up with specific evidence regarding his words, Kim acknowledged his neglect to clarify the specific criteria.

Min-Hyuk Park mhpark@donga.com