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Two years on from the enforcement of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act

Date
21-09-2018
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[Two years on from the enforcement of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act] 8 to 9 out of 10 people perceive “the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act has a positive impact on the spread of a culture of integrity”

The ACRC released the result of a survey on the public perception of the Anti-Graft Act: people feel comfortable splitting the bill, and solicitations through personal connections and entertainment/hospitality have dwindled

 

According to the result of a survey on the public perception of the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act (the “Act”), it has been found that 8 to 9 out of 10 people support the enforcement of the Act, saying that the Act has been creating a positive impact on Korean society.

 

In addition, a majority of the surveyees responded that they became comfortable ‘paying their share individually (i.e. going Dutch)’ and that improper solicitations/requests through personal connections and entertainment/gifts offered by duty-related parties have diminished.

 

On September 20, 2018, marking the two-year anniversary of the enforcement of the Act, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission released the results of a survey on the perception of the Act that has been conducted to look into how much Korean society in general has changed.

 

The survey on the public perception of the Act has been carried out in order to analyze the effects created by the implementation of the Act that the general citizens and public servants experience in their daily lives and to come up with institutional development plans to measure up to people’s expectations.

 

The Survey on the Perception of the Act

 

 

The ACRC surveyed a total of 3,016 people from various circles, including the general public, those involved in the industries affected by the Act and public officials, from August 27 through September 10, 2018 about their perceptions of the Act, which has been implemented for the past two years (the survey research institute: Hankook Research).

 

< Surveyees >

(Unit: people)

General citizens

Public officials

Executives and employees of public service-related organizations

School

teachers

Media executives and employees

*Those from affected industries

1,000

503

303

408

200

602

* Among those who were subject to the survey, the number of people involved in the restaurant business and agriculture, livestock & flower industry was 202 and 400, respectively.

 

(Evaluation of the Implementation of the Act) The survey result related to the assessment of the implementation of the Act showed that an overwhelming majority of the general public (89.9%), public officials (95.6%) and executives and employees of the public service-related organizations (97.0%) indicated they support the implementation of the Act. A large number of media executives and employees (74.5%) and those involved in the affected industries (71.3%) also positively evaluated the implementation of the Act.

 

- In addition, a majority of the surveyees said that the Act has been enforced in a stable manner and significantly helped address corruption and irregularities in Korean society.

 

* The Act has been enforced in a stable manner: general citizens 75.3%, public officials 92.6% (Sep. 2018, Hankook Research)

* The Act has helped tackle corruption problems: general citizens 74.9%, public officials 91.1%

(Social Impact of the Act) The survey result showed that the respondents perceive that the implementation of the Act has a positive impact on Korean society and does not hamper their ordinary social life and performance of duties.

 

The Act has a positive impact on Korean society: general citizens 87.5%, public officials 95.0% (Sep. 2018, Hankook Research)

The Act does not hamper ordinary social life or performance of duties: general citizens 90.3%, public officials 93.8% (Sep. 2018, Hankook Research)

 

- Furthermore, the Act has been evaluated as efficient in preventing corruption as the general public, public officials and journalists, etc. all perceive the implementation of the Act has reduced improper solicitations/requests made through exploiting personal connections or entertainment/gifts offered by duty-related parties.

- And the surveyees also said that after the implementation of the Act, their perceptions of bill-splitting has changed in a more positive way as they became more comfortable paying their bills individually and feel more natural when the other party suggests going Dutch.

 

< The Percentage (%) of Respondents saying ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Agree’ >

 

Survey items

General citizens

Public officials

Public service-related organizations

Teachers

Journalists

I feel more comfortable splitting the bill

69.2

77.7

76.9

67.4

49.0

I myself want to split the bill

69.4

82.1

80.2

73.0

55.0

I understand when the other party suggests splitting the bill

83.2

90.1

89.1

83.6

72.5

 

(Amendments to the Enforcement Decree of the Act and the Effect Thereof on Sales) The ACRC made amendments to the Enforcement Decree of the Act on January 17, 2018 to increase the cap amount applicable to agricultural and fishery goods from the previous KRW 50,000 to KRW 100,000 while retaining the cap amounts on food and gifts at KRW 30,000 and 50,000, respectively, and to lower the cap amount on cash gifts for congratulatory or condolence purposes from the previous KRW 100,000 to KRW 50,000 except when provided together with wreathes and floral arrangements (i.e. if a funeral cash gift is provided together with a wreath for a condolence purpose, the total value of the combined two categories must not exceed KRW 100,000).

 

- The survey result related to the effect of the aforementioned amendments on sales of the affected industries showed that a majority of the surveyees favorably perceived the increase in the cap amount applicable to gifts of agricultural and fishery goods at KRW 100,000, and responded such increase has helped improve sales of agricultural and fishery goods by encouraging consumer spending.

I feel positive about the cap increase: general citizens 78.6%, those from the affected industries 81.2% (Sep. 2018, Hankook Research)

I think the cap increase helps encourage consumer spending: general citizens 61.4%, public officials 67.4% (Sep. 2018, Hankook Research)

 

- Moreover, the surveyees regarded the upper ceiling on gifts of agricultural and fishery goods at KRW 100,000 as appropriate, and a majority of them said the upper limits on food and gifts, excluding the agricultural and fishery goods, at KRW 30,000 and 50,000, respectively are appropriate, as well.

The cap amounts are appropriate (food/gifts/cash gifts for weddings and funerals): the general public 58.0%/63.8%/65.4% (Sep. 2018, Hankook Research)

 

The Chairperson of the ACRC Pak Un Jong said “I think the biggest achievement accomplished through the enforcement of the Act is a so-called shift of consciousness of the public toward integrity, which means that the public now think that anti-corruption and integrity-building should be put in practice in their daily lives. In the past, people used to think that the issue of corruption is disconnected from their life as they only regarded grand corruption scandals involving politicians or officials indicted on charges of the abuse of power, irregularities in defense acquisition process, bribery and embezzlement, etc. as corruption. However, since the enactment and implementation of the Act, the general public came to have higher expectations towards integrity, and view what used to be considered minor misconduct as corruption that needs to be addressed, because the general public as well as public officials felt that the outdated customs of improper solicitations and graft through anachronistic nepotism and cronyism should be rooted out from their daily lives. I am confident that this sort of shift in awareness of integrity by the general public and public officials will be a huge asset for us to further advance the level of national integrity. And as the head of the Commission in charge of the implementation of the Act, I feel grave responsibility for the Act to successfully take root in our society.”

 

She also added that “according to an analysis of the result of the public perception survey on the Act conducted this time, it appears that we need to exert comprehensive efforts to make an improvement in legal institutions, strengthen education and promotion of the Act, and inflict severe punishment on those who violate the Act in a bid to make the Act take firm root successfully in our society. Given this, the ACRC will carry out a fact-finding inspection on vulnerable areas such as sponsorship, so as to complement internal regulations of agencies of various levels if any legal loopholes are found therein. Also, we will create and distribute various educational and promotional contents for the general public and public officials so that they can better understand and comply with the Act. Furthermore, the ACRC, as the lead agency of the Act, will continue to supervise agencies of various levels to make sure that they strictly handle reports of violation of the Act and impose heavy sanctions on violators of the Act.”