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Pres. Lee Orders Tougher Crackdown on Corruption

Posted March. 08, 2010 09:45,   


President Lee Myung-bak has repeatedly ordered his aides in recent meetings to prevent scandals or corruption, officials at the presidential office said yesterday.

The president’s stern warning stems from his judgment that corruption scandals involving ranking officials, ruling party members, and his own relatives will levy a heavy burden on national administration as he enters his third year in office.

In the wake of the order, prosecutors, police and the Board of Audit and Inspection will probe ranking government officials and President Lee’s relatives in consultation with the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs.

President Lee told a meeting of his aides Tuesday last week, “The administration has entered its third year. The government should thoroughly make sure that corruption such as influence-peddling and business favors never occurs.”

“Especially, corruption in financial transactions should never be tolerated. For an official to assist an external organization he or she is involved with can cause a problem, and I urge officials to thoroughly and sternly manage such a practice. If any problem occurs, everyone should be held collectively accountable.”

The president emphasized “collective responsibility” because previous governments have shown that if a scandal implicates high-ranking officials and corruption occurs in the third year of a president’s term, it could accelerate the lame duck phenomenon and jeopardize an administration’s very foundation.

In a related move, prosecutors are reportedly probing corruption in personnel affairs management in education, an area subject to a major investigation, and in other areas such as health and welfare wherein interested parties and civil servants often interact.

Prosecutors are taking this as an opportunity to root out the chain of corruption committed by certain educational officials. They will soon assemble a meeting of senior prosecutors in connection with a probe into government corruption.

Another presidential aide said the monitoring of President Lee’s family and relatives, who number 1,400, has also been reinforced. The president also ordered a crackdown on illegal electioneering by civil servants ahead of the June 2 local elections.

This move came after a city official in Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, was arrested on the charge of sending the Miryang mayor an e-mail message pledging his loyalty.