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Audit Questions 2 Projects of Leading Tech Univ.

Posted October. 21, 2009 08:52,   


The parliamentary audit on the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, or KAIST, has raised questions over the feasibility of two projects pushed for by school president Seo Nam-pyo since his appointment.

Certain lawmakers yesterday said the sources and use of donations for the projects have dramatically increased since Seo became president.

Ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Park Young-a said, “Many products such as the ‘floating harbor’ are similar to the mobile harbor KAIST is working on with the government’s supplementary budget this year, and certain Korean companies are selling small mobile harbors.”

“An OLEV releases electric waves up to 30 times the permissible exposure level for humans. In conclusion, the two projects are being conducted without verification.”

In response, Seo said, “Since electric waves are measured differently depending on the environment, it is important to measure them when people are in a car. When we measured them, it was far below the permissible level.”

Main opposition Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Chun-jin raised the suspicion of bribery, saying, “When you look at the contract of 3.3 billion won (28.3 million dollars) with a certain company that built the school’s international center in May, only 2.8 billion won (2.4 million dollars) is written as construction fees excluding 500 million won (428,000 dollars) for donation funds. This means that the money is not a genuine donation but money given by the company for winning the project.”

A KAIST representative said, “When we offered the bid, we required bidders to write the total construction fee, donations, and net construction fee calculated by subtracting donations from the total construction fees.”

“No company raised issue with this as we notified bidders that it doesn’t matter if it isn’t written down and handed out. We also awarded construction projects to the lowest bidders.”

Among private universities, KAIST collected 65 billion won (55.7 million dollars) in donations, exceeding Yonsei University’s 48.1 billion won (41.2 million dollars). Yonsei had ranked first last year.