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ACRC Implements Ten Anti-Corruption Initiatives to Tighten Discipline in Public Service

Date
12-04-2021

ACRC Implements Ten Anti-Corruption Initiatives to Tighten Discipline in Public Service

- To review the operation of conflict of interest prevention system in public institutions at all levels to avoid another LH scandal -

(1 April 2021, ACRC)

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The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (Chairperson Jeon Hyun-Heui, ACRC) plans to initiate, in April, a comprehensive review of the implementation of anti-corruption initiatives in the public sector, including the operation of the prevention system of conflict of interest under the Code of Conduct in the public agencies at all levels in order to tighten the discipline in the public service that has come under the spotlight after the LH (Korea Land and Housing Corporation) scandal.

 

In a briefing session held over the Implementation Plan of Ten Anti-Corruption and Integrity Innovation Initiatives in Public Institutions in the afternoon of the 1st at Seoul Government Complex, Chairperson Jeon laid out detailed anti-corruption measures to fundamentally prevent moral complacency in public institutions, such as the LH, which was talked over during the 7th Anti-Corruption Policy Consultative Council on the 29th of the last month.

 

First, the ACRC will examine the implementation of different anti-corruption policies, such as the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act. It will carry out an overall review to identify whether the prevention of conflict of interest system prescribed in the Code of Conduct of each institution is running well, even a conflict of interest law has not yet been enacted but is still under discussion in the National Assembly.

 

The Commission also plans to conduct special investigations of the current employment system in public institutions under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport by having the employment irregularity task force to make ad-hoc inspections on the public enterprises that recently hired LH retirees. At the same time, it is going to carry out on-site investigations by institution to root out inappropriate work practices where those who violated the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act only faced internal disciplinary actions rather than criminal penalties or fines. As for the recovery of public funds, the ACRC will form a joint team that will regularly and intensively review corruption-prone areas in central and local administrative agencies as well as educational institutions to ban false claims and retrieve illicit profits.

 

In addition, the Commission will run an intensive reporting period on real estate speculation cases committed by public officials by June 30, and plans to set up a coordination scheme with the Government Joint Special Investigation Headquarters to protect whistleblowers.

 

The ACRC will advise institutional improvement to public institutions that are at high risk of taking advantage of internal information or involving personal interests, so that their institutions can reflect conflict of interest rules. It is also going to make prior notice mandatory in case a public official plans to have a private meeting with another retired public official, and to restrict retirees from personally using the internal information of the institution to which the retiree used to belong once the individual leaves office. Furthermore, the Commission plans to update the Integrity Assessment model by adding indicators to measure non-monetary corruption, seeking personal gains in a conflict of interest, among others.

 

The ACRC has decided to draw up and distribute an ethics and compliance management guideline to manage corruption risks and strengthen the internal control of public enterprises, and to work on the introduction of a certification system for public enterprises that develop and run an ethics and compliance program. It will make in-person integrity education mandatory for high-ranking public officials, such as the heads, auditors, and senior management members of public institutions, while overseeing special education for agencies where serious fraud took place.

 

Particularly, the Commission is planning to proactively engage in cooperation and support to encourage the observance of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, including the obligation to prevent a conflict of interest, protect whistleblowers, and expand integrity education by signing MOUs with regional governments across the nation, starting from Gyeonggi Provincial Government in April.

 

The ACRC Chairperson Jeon Hyun-Heui said "we will look for every policy instrument at our disposal to resolve the LH land speculation scandal and eliminate corrupt practices, and make sure to completely address corruption in real estate without fail as we promised to the people."