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Public officials job solicitations in the private sector prohibited

Date
15-04-2018
Attachments
 

“Public officials’ job solicitations in the private sector and unjust requests for doing personal tasks prohibited”

The Code of Conduct for Public Officials, which provides for restriction on employment of family members of public officials in the private sector and prohibition of seeking personal benefits, including requirement of reporting on contracts entered into with a duty-related party, took effect on April 17

 

April 15, 2018

Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission

The Republic of Korea

Case 1) “It was revealed that a central government-affiliated agency received improper job solicitation from an official from the central government and illicitly hired the official’s children”

Case 2) “High-ranking military official and his family gave personal orders to conscripted soldiers assigned to their residence, arousing controversies over whether it be an ‘abuse of power’”

Case 3) “A provincial governor awarded a construction company of which his wife is the largest shareholder a non-bidding private construction contract”

Such activities as illustrated in the aforementioned cases are entirely prohibited starting from April 17, and public officials who violate this become subject to disciplinary measures.

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC, Chairperson Pak Un Jong) announced on April 15 that stricter Code of Conduct for Public Officials, which has incorporated new provisions aimed at preventing in advance situations where fair performance of official duties are impeded by a public official’s pursuit of private interests when the public official discharges his/her official duties, comes into force starting from April 17.

Notwithstanding reinforced behavioral standards for public officials after the implementation of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, people from all sectors of society have raised their voices, demanding that the institutional foundation should be laid in order to prevent corrupt acts, which have been more sophisticated and clandestine, including employment irregularities and the receipt of money and other valuables under the disguise of monetary transactions with a duty-related party, etc.

Against this backdrop, the ACRC has revised the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, a behavioral standard for public officials in Korea, to require public officials to report to the head of their agency in cases where their family members, etc. are duty-related parties.

The tightened Code has introduced nine provisions to be effective from April 17 in earnest for the purpose of containing public officials’ profit-seeking activities. For instance, such provisions specify that: public officials shall be obligated to make notifications to the head of their agency if they plan to play golf, travel or engage in other leisure activities with retired public officials related to their duties; and public officials shall be subjected to disciplinary measures, etc. if they exert their authority or influence to make their junior colleagues or duty-related parties do personal tasks for them.

<Contents of Major Revisions>

Classification

Revisions

Newly inserted provisions

Public officials shall be barred from soliciting civilians for contributions, donations or investments; interfering in recruitments, promotions and transfers; signing contracts

Public officials shall be prohibited from demanding that their subordinate officials or those related to their duties carry out personal tasks for them

Senior officials newly appointed (to positions of vice ministerial level or above, the head of local governments) shall submit a record of their activities in the civilian sector for the past three years.

▪ Public officials shall be barred from profit-seeking activities, such as being paid for offering services, consultation or advice to companies in relation to their duties, and assuming a different post, etc.

Senior officials and public officials in charge of personnel affairs, etc. shall be inhibited from exerting their authority or influence to have their agency or affiliated agency hire their family members

Senior officials, public officials responsible for contracting affairs, etc. shall be prohibited from signing any private contracts with corporations where they and their family members hold shares

Public officials shall report to the head of their agency if they personally meet with their former colleagues related to their duties who have retired within the past two years to play golf or travel, etc.

Supplemented provisions

In case where duty-related parties are public officials’ family members and corporations/groups with which the public officials engage in private transactions, they shall report such private interests to the head of their agency

Public officials shall report to the head of their agency if they or their family members engage in any monetary, asset and commodity transactions, etc. with people related to their duties

 

More specific regulations, which have been newly inserted into the Code or modified through this revision, are as follows:

▴ Prohibition of Unjust Requests for Doing Personal Tasks

A new provision has been introduced in the Code to ban public officials from exerting their authority or influence to make their subordinates or duty-related parties do personal tasks for them, etc. as in the case of ‘a military general’s abuse of power toward soldiers assigned to his residence.’

▴ Obligation on Public Officials to Report Their Private Interests

The previous provision of Prevention of Conflict of Interest, which had briefly provided for a public official’s obligation to request for consultation regarding the avoidance of his/her private interests-related duty and the obligation of his/her agency’s head for taking necessary measures, has been supplemented in a way that public officials should report their private interests to the head of their agency. Under this supplemented provision, the scope of private interests, which may hamper public officials’ fair performance of duties, has been more specifically defined, and more systemic management procedures have been set forth, for instance, by requiring the head of the agency concerned to record and maintain his/her measures, such as the reassignment of duties, and the current status of notifications of private interests, requests for consultation, and measures taken.

(Scope of Private Interests) where a duty-related party is the public official himself/herself; his/her spouse; his/her relative within the relationship of third degree; corporations or groups for which he/she or his/her family members work as executives/employees or outside directors

▴ Obligation on Public Officials to Submit Records of Their Activities in the Civilian Sector

Senior officials, including those appointed to positions of vice ministerial level or above, and the heads of local authorities shall be required to submit records of their activities in the civilian sector to the head of their agency, which contain the list of corporations/groups for which they had worked for the past three years before their appointment or the commencement of their office term along with the specification of their works done in such corporations/groups. What has been stated on the records shall be also used as grounds for the reassignment of duties, etc.

▴ Prohibition of Duty-Related Profit-Seeking Activities

Under the revised Code, public officials shall be prohibited from conducting profit-seeking activities that can cause conflicts of interest, including being paid for offering private consultation to companies that are related to their duties, and assuming other positions related to their duties.

▴ Restriction on the Employment of Public Officials’ Family Members

Senior officials shall be also prohibited from exercising their influence or authority to have their family members hired by the agencies for which they currently work or its affiliated agencies.

On top of this, public officials handling affairs of appointment, promotion, job transfer and any other personnel management at an agency shall be forbidden from exerting unjust influence to have their family members hired by the agency, and in the case of public officials handling the said affairs at an affiliated agency shall be forbidden from exerting unjust influence to have their family members hired by the affiliated agency.

▴ Restriction on Signing Private Contracts

Under the revision, senior officials and their family members shall be prohibited from signing any private contracts regarding goods, services and construction, etc. with their agency or affiliated agencies. In addition, public officials handling affairs on contracts at an agency and their family members shall be forbidden from signing private contracts with the agency, and officials handling affairs on contracts at an affiliated agency and their family members shall also be forbidden from signing private contracts with the affiliated agency.

▴ Prohibition of Using Good Offices or Making Solicitations to Those Who Are Not Public Officials

Since the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act took effect, cases of improper solicitations made to public officials have been banned. However, improper solicitations made by public officials to civilians had been often pointed out as blind spots in the law.

In line with this, a new provision has been introduced into the Code to ban public officials’ influence-peddling or solicitations to civilians.

Types of solicitations highly likely to be made by public officials using their influence, such as solicitations for contributions/sponsorship and employment, have been specified, and other types of improper solicitations that are banned for each agency shall be specified by the head of the agency.

▴ Obligation on Public Officials to Report Their Personal Meetings with Retired Officials

Where a former official who has retired from an agency is in the process of filing for civil petition or applying for license/permissions, or is a duty-related party such as a party to a contract (within the past two years after his/her retirement), public officials shall be required to report to the head of their agency if they personally meet with the retired official to play golf, travel, and engage in other leisure activities. Types of personal meetings and things to be reported, etc. shall be determined by each agency. This provision aims to prevent in advance any chance of granting privileges to retired public officials for their former posts or colluding with them, thereby increasing transparency among the incumbent and retired public officials.

▴ Obligation on Public Officials to Report Transactions with a Duty-Related Party

Where a public official himself/herself, his/her spouse and his/her lineal ascendants/descendants living together with the public official engage in any monetary or asset transactions, or sign contracts for goods/services or construction, with a duty-related party or duty-related public officials, the public official shall report to the head of his/her agency; provided, however, that this shall not apply to cases where transparency of transactions can be secured through separate procedures, as in the case of loans from financial institutions, public auctions, auctions, bidding, public drawing, etc., or to signing of contracts with unspecified individuals repetitively in accordance with customary practices.

The ACRC said that ahead of the implementation of the revised Code of Conduct for Public Officials, it has been striving to promote the new provisions of the revised Code and provide public officials of agencies of various levels with operational guidelines and work manuals for each agency so that they can have substantive understanding of, and better adapt to, the new provisions of the revised Code.

The director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau at the ACRC, Lim Yoon-ju said that “I expect the revisions made to the Code of Conduct for Public Officials this time will elevate Korean public officials’ behavioral standard to the next level.”

 

Attachment 1

 

 

Overview of Code of Conduct for Public Officials

 

Backgrounds and Operation system of the Code of Conduct for Public officials

The Code of Conduct for Public Officials was established in 2003 to specify code of conduct for public officials in performing public duties, aiming to enhance ethics level and spread an integrity culture in the public sector.

Applicable Act: Article 7 (Obligation of Public Organization Employees to Maintain Integrity) and Article 8 (Code of Conduct for Public Organization Employees) of the Act on the Prevention of Corruption and the Establishment and Management of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission

Code of conduct for employees of Central and local administrative agencies, code of conduct for constitutional agencies, and code of conduct for public service-related agencies are operated in accordance with Presidential Decree, internal rules, and by-laws, respectively.

 

 

 

Act on Anti-Corruption and the Establishment and Operation of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central and Local Administrative Agency

 

 

Constitutional Agency

 

 

Public Service-Related Agency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Code of Conduct for Public Officials

 

 

Code of Conduct for Local Council Members

 

 

National Assembly regulations

 

Supreme Court regulations

 

 

Constitutional Court regulation

 

National Election Commission regulation

 

 

Code of Conduct for public service related agency officials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Code of conduct for public officials by administrative agency

 

 

 

Code of Conduct for Local Council Members by local council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Code of Conduct for public service agency officials by public service related agency

 

Main contents of Code of Conduct for Public Officials (21)

 

Fair performance of public duties (11)

 

 

Prohibition of giving and receiving improper benefits (7)

 

 

Creation of healthy climate of civil service (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

■ Handling of Instructions that hinders fair performance of Duties (Article 4)

Reporting, etc. of private interest (§5)

Submitting details of private sector business activities by high-ranking officials (§5-2)

Prohibition of acts of seeking profits related to public duties, etc. (§5-3)

Restriction of employment of family members (§5-4)

Restriction of private contract (§5-5)

Reporting personal contacts with retired officials (§5-6)

Exclusion of preferential treatment (§6)

■ Prohibition of use of budget for unspecified purposes (§7)

■ Handling of unjust request from politicians (§8)

Prohibition of illegal solicitation for personnel affairs (§9)

 

 

Prohibition of influence peddling (§10)

■ Prohibition of the improper use of public position (§10-2)

Prohibition of improper arrangement and solicitation (§11)

Restriction on the use of duty-related information for financial transactions (§12)

■ Prohibition of personal use of public property (§13)

Prohibition of demanding personal labor (§13-2)

Prohibition of receipt of money, goods, etc. (§14)

 

 

■ Report on outside lecture or conference (§15)

Report on transaction with  duty-related party (§16)

■ Restriction on notification of festivities and funerals (§17)

 

Attachment 2

 

 

Overview of Amended Code of Conduct for Public Officials

 

 

 

 

Article

Amendment

Detail

 

New Provision

 

5-2

Submitting details of private sector business activities by high-ranking officials

▪ High-ranking public officials of Vice Minister level or higher should submit their private sector activities of the past three years before their appointment

 

5-3

Prohibition of acts of seeking profits related to public duties, etc

 

▪ Public officials are banned from receiving benefits in exchange for advice given to a duty-related party or getting appointed to other duty-related position

 

5-4

Restriction of employment of family members

▪ Public officials are prohibited from unduly influencing their agency or an affiliated agency to hire their family members

 

5-5

Restriction of private contract

▪ Public officials are prohibited from getting their agency and an affiliated agency to make a contract with themselves or their family members

 

5-6

Reporting personal contacts with retired officials

▪ Incumbent public officials should report a personal contact made with retired public officials of less than two years, on occasions of such as golf, travel or gambling

 

11-3

Prohibition of illegal solicitations by public officials to civilians

▪ Public officials are prohibited from making improper solicitation to private citizens

* Types of such improper solicitations are specified such as requesting contribution · investment or sponsorship, personnel affairs including employment · promotion · transfer, and contract work

 

13-2

Prohibition of demanding personal labor

▪ Public officials are prohibited from having duty-related parties or duty-related public officials do their personal labor

 

Complemented provision

 

5

Reporting of private interests of public officials

▪ Public officials should report conflict of interests which could impede their fair performance of duty, for example, where their family members are duty-related party

 

16

Reporting of transactions with duty-related parties, etc.

▪ Public officials should report transaction with duty-related party such as borrowing money, real-estate and other asset transaction, supplies and service contracts