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Police Question Former and Serving Presidents of the KMPA

Police Question Former and Serving Presidents of the KMPA

Posted May. 07, 2007 03:16,   


Prosecutors who are investigating the lobbying scandal of the Korean Medical Association (KMA) have shifted their attention to the Korean Medical Politics Association (KMPA), which is affiliated with the KMA.

It was confirmed yesterday that the investigation team of the Seoul District Public Prosecutors’ Office headed by Kim Dae-ho summoned Park Hee-baek, 74, the former president of the KMPA, last Friday and carried out a rigorous questioning until midnight.

Park is known as a key figure of the KMPA who served as president from 2001 to August 2006. During his tenure the KMPA went through a comprehensive restructuring and changed its name to the Korean Medical Politics Association.

Prosecutors also summoned all of presidents who have served the KMPA since its start, including serving president Park Hee-du, 61, who has been serving as president of the KMPA since this February.

It was reported that prosecutors questioning Park Hee-du and Park Hee-baek focused on whether they attempted to lobby politicians to take a dominant position in pending medical disputes, what they spent the organization’s membership fees and public funds on, and who they tried to lobby.

The involvement of KMPA president in KMA lobbying activities was so extensive that inside workers of the KMA say that, “There are only three men who know the exact amount spent for lobbying activities, and they are the KMPA president, KMA president, and the chairman of the representatives.”

Even though the KMPA was founded in 1970 with the official aim of giving advice on medical and health policies and helping with the public advertising of these policies, this organization has mainly devoted itself to the empowerment of medical workers and served as a gateway for connections with politicians.

Apart from the KMA membership fees, the KMPA collects 700 million to 800 million won annually, but a full accounting of the funding has not been revealed. A source from the medical circles said that, “As far as I know, the KMPA scraps its documents when its terms are over.”

According to an inspection report on the KMA, the KMA spent 640 million won from May 2006 to January 2006. Of that, 270 million won was spent without documentary evidence, which is arousing suspicion.

Meanwhile, the recent summons issued to former president of the KMPA Park Hee-baek is a sign that the investigation is expanding. Thus, we can’t rule out the possibility that lobbying activities of former president of the KMA Chang Dong-ik and his executives will come under investigation in the near future.

will71@donga.com needjung@donga.com