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Gov`t denies audit report calling 4-river project `totally flawed`

Gov`t denies audit report calling 4-river project `totally flawed`

Posted January. 20, 2013 05:19,   


The Board of Audit and Inspection has caused a big ripple in the political and the governmental sectors by announcing Thursday that the Lee Myung-bak administration’s signature project to restore the country`s four major rivers was “totally flawed.” Government organizations involved in the project worth 20 billion U.S. dollars made public rebuttals to the declaration, while pro-environment groups demanded an overall investigation into the project.

Certain officials at the government watchdog also made politically sensitive comments to escalate controversy over the project, saying the audit results would have been “stronger” had an opposition candidate won last month`s presidential election.

Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Minister Kwon Do-youp and Environment Minister Yoo Young-sook held an unusual joint news conference Thursday to rebut the watchdog`s conclusion, claiming “no problems in safety or functions” with dams, which were a key part of the project. “The parts of the bed pitchings that were washed away have been mostly reinforced,” Kim said. Both ministers also denied the claim that the government applied standards for dams 4 meters high or under to larger dams in the four rivers, insisting that the same standards were applied to all dams with a height of 15 meters or lower. On the allegation that the government’s water quality control was a failure, the environment minister denied that the wrong standards were applied to the four rivers.

The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae reportedly instructed the two ministries to issue strong rebuttals to the audit results. One source said, “The Land Ministry`s explanations are said to have not been fully reflected in the inspection process, Doesn`t this mean that the Board of Audit and Inspection looked at the project with a bias against it?” Other Cheong Wa Dae officials complained that the audit was “political,” citing that the watchdog`s first inspection in 2011 had a totally different conclusion.