중앙데일리

Shoddy vests leave troops hung out to dry

Mar 24,2016
The Ministry of Defense and other government bodies received bribes to enter into an exclusive contract with a private company to develop bulletproof armor, the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea announced Wednesday. Unfortunately, tests have shown the armor is easily punctured by North Korean armor?piercing ammunition.

The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea (BAI) also confirmed that the private company is the same company discovered last February to have sold poor-quality bulletproof armor, which couldn’t stop North Korean rifle rounds.

What’s surprising is that the Ministry of Defense had already invested 2.8 billion won ($2.4 million) with the Agency for Defense Development to produce bulletproof armor.

The exclusive contract is worth roughly 270 billion won, under which the company was to provide 308,500 unit to the Defense Ministry from 2014 to 2025.

Over the course of five years the Defense Ministry invested 2.8 billion won to develop cutting-edge nanotechnology for the construction of armor. In 2010, the ministry drafted a procurement plan, but in 2011, it abruptly scrapped the plan and decided to sign a contract with a private armor company.

Unsurprisingly, 29 employees of the private armor company are former military officials, 21 of whom held the rank of colonel or higher, according to the BAI.

The BAI has so far discovered that the wife of a Defense Ministry general who led the decision to sign the exclusive contract received 39 million won in 2014.

Another Defense Ministry official received 51 million won after providing internal information on the ministry and its standards for bulletproof armors. Afterwards, the company brought him on as an advisor.

A professor at the Korea Military Academy was also discovered to have provided, without an official permit, ammunition to the company to facilitate its armor development. He even allowed the company to enter academy grounds to test their armor and later deleted visitor records. In exchange, the professor received 110 million in cash and valuables, including stocks. He is now employed as a researcher at the company.

According to the BAI, about 35,000 units of armor, which cannot stop North Korean ammunition, have already been supplied to soldiers stationed abroad.

BY CHUN SU-JIN[chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]


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