Freebies must endSeveral deplorable cases of government officials misusing overseas study programs have recently arisen. There was the group of officials from the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs who shockingly filed a report based on a sample college report sold online for 900 won ($1) after they returned from an overseas program which had been funded by government money.
Then there were the two officials from the National Police Agency who, for some unexplained reason, apparently thought it so important to learn about the police budget systems in Egypt, Greece and Turkey that they arranged an official overseas trip.
The report they later submitted contained the exact content as that of a sample report sold online for 1,200 won. What’s more, they took their trips at the end of the year, during the holiday season, which is hardly the best time to meet with the necessary local authorities, and they traveled on a package tour with regular tourists. Their stated purpose for these trips ― to meet with local budget officials ― seems to have been a ruse from the start.
These two outrageous incidents were disclosed through reports obtained by Grand National Party legislator Kim Gi-hyun from the ministry and the National Police Agency. However, it is generally accepted that things aren’t much better in other government agencies. As of September, some 50.1 billion won ($55 million) was spent on overseas study and training programs for officials from the 30 government agencies with the biggest budgets, including the Ministry of Planning and Budget. Over half of these programs did not have any firmly stated purpose heightening suspicions that they were mere ploys for officials to go sightseeing using government money.
From now on, all overseas study programs and business trips funded by government money should be strictly supervised from the initial planning stages so that no more money is wasted.