Junket sets a bad exampleTwenty-one auditors from state-run companies have departed for Latin America with the official purpose of getting ideas to improve their work systems. According to their schedule, they will visit public institutions of the countries and will have a seminar there. And they will visit Iguazu Falls. It is hard to understand what they intend to learn from Latin American countries, whose economic systems are no better than Korea’s. And why should they have a seminar so far away in Latin America? And why Iguazu Falls? Are they expecting a novel idea about measures to innovate work systems to burst upon them when they see the falls? This official trip will cost them 8 million won ($8,700) per person and the cost will be covered by the companies.
Most of those auditors had been presidential election campaigners for Roh Moo-hyun or had helped the current administration by working in the governing Uri Party, the Blue House or in civic groups. As a reward, they have obtained the position of auditors in state-run companies, for which they are paid 180 million won a year. They are “noblemen who have parachuted down to state-run companies.” They are envied by those in other positions at the state-run companies, in their so-called “God-granted jobs.”
Auditors are important because they examine the accounts of companies. So they are required to secure expertise. But it is doubtful if these people have any expertise in examining complicated accounting books. And it will also be difficult for them to apply rigorous moral standards to other staff members, as they are going on an official trip without substantial purpose on the company dime. How will corruption at state-run companies be reduced with such auditors?
The Korean people selected Roh as president on the expectation that he would remove privileges and stand by the disadvantaged. The administration is apparently emphasizing distribution and welfare, and pursuing integrity and justice. But inside the administration, things like this ridiculous trip happen.
A normal government would immediately call them back and reprimand them. And the Ministry of Planning and Budget, which is supervising state-run companies, will have to share the responsibility. If the ministry did not know of this official trip, it would indicate that the ministry is neglecting its duty. The ministry has repeatedly said it would improve the efficiency of state-run companies.
Now, that sounds like deception.