It’s not a personal piggy bank

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It’s not a personal piggy bank

Prosecutor General Kim Joon-gyu is once again in hot water for irresponsibly doling out taxpayer money to senior prosecutors. About 45 attendees to a recent senior prosecutor workshop received a handsome allowance of 2 million won ($1,844) to 3 million won each.

In total, close to 100 million won was stuffed into the envelopes, which were proudly marked with Kim’s signature.

The cash came from the “special activities” budget, which is appropriated to the prosecutor general. How ironic it is that the prosecutors’ office would throw money around at a workshop on the “future strategy of the prosecution and better connection with the public.”

The prosecutor general is bestowed with the “special activities” budget, which is earmarked to finance intelligence and investigative activities. But the fund is often used for perks and allowances. The spending does not require receipts to ensure “confidentiality” of state affairs.

Kim was appropriated 18.9 billion won for the special budget this year. The money may be necessary considering the extensive nature of prosecutors’ investigative operations. Other agency heads have also been provided with 800 billion won this year for their “extraordinary” activities.

Regardless of the clandestine nature of the budget, however, it is not Kim’s personal piggy bank.

Kim came under fire in November 2009 for handing out cash gifts to journalists. He then apologized for his blunder. But it appears that he has not learned his lesson.

It is appalling for public officials to help themselves to tax money. If local offices required extra money for their investigative services, the central office could have wired it to them, instead of handing them envelopes stuffed with cash.

A civil servant in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang, recently committed suicide, saying prosecutors humiliated him by slapping him in the face during a questioning session.

Indeed, the nation’s prosecutors have added immorality to their already infamous reputation and image.

At the workshop for prosecutors, author Kim Hoon called for a radical reform of the prosecution, calling prosecutors “fearful and hateful.”

The prosecutor general is the face of public law enforcement. It is a disgrace that the prosecutor general has handed out special allowances to his subordinates.
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