Posted May. 11, 2009 22:07,
The government and the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea are considering enacting bills requiring all local governments and state-run organizations to have inspection bodies and hire outside inspectors with guaranteed tenure and status.
Many experts have long criticized that most local governments have no internal affairs teams or that such bodies are not independent or possess expertise.
The board reported on the proposed Act Related to Public Inspection to its chairman Kim Hwang-sik yesterday. A source with the government watchdog said the board has finished discussion with the public administration and finance ministries.
The government plans to introduce the bill at the regular session of the National Assembly in September.
The bill designates central administrative bodies, local governments and state-run organizations as the public sector, and that all organizations in the public sector should create and run their own inspection bodies.
Around 600 organizations are expected to be affected by the bill.
The bill also clarifies that inspection bodies should be granted independence in auditing and inspection to prevent the heads of organizations from affecting the results of inspections. The government also plans to guarantee the independence of such inspection bodies by establishing related ordinances.
According to the suggested bill, private experts such as lawyers and public accountants can be hired as inspectors general. To nominate inspectors general, central administrative bodies need approval from a committee to judge qualifications after an investigation; local government should get permission from local assemblies; and state-run organizations should receive recommendations from the committee and pass them through the committees screening process.
The tenure of inspectors general will be guaranteed for three years and can be extended up to five years.
The bill is also designed to prevent overlapping inspections by creating public inspection councils. Inspections overlap since the National Assembly inspects the incumbent administration; the board conducts inspection activities; central administrative organs supervise local governments; and local assemblies inspect local governments.
A source from the government watchdog said, The bill is designed to guarantee the independence of each organs inspection activities and stipulate relevant issues.
In the United States, the president, not Cabinet ministers, has the power to appoint inspectors general of 30 federal agencies after confirmation hearings. The U.S. Single Audit Act sets inspection standards for all state-run organizations.
The Korean government proposed the Act Related to Public Inspection in 2005 but it was automatically abolished after the term of the 17th National Assembly expired. The bill also proposed hiring outside experts, guaranteeing tenure for inspectors, and receiving recommendations and approval.
An attempt to revive the bill in 2005 was met with harsh opposition from the heads of local governments.