A five-fold increase in government corruption

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A five-fold increase in government corruption

The number of government officials punished for bribery has jumped more than five-fold over the last five years due to a tighter crackdown on bureaucratic corruption, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security said yesterday.

Civil servants who were dismissed or disciplined for accepting kickbacks numbered 624 last year, 5.5 times more than the figure in 2006, the ministry said.

A total of 419 officials were working for the central government, with the remainder employed by provincial governments, the ministry said.

An additional 5,818 officials were punished for embezzlement, appropriation of public funds and other violations of ethical codes last year, nearly double the number from 2006, officials said.

“The number of disciplined officials rose due to illegal acceptance of rice subsidies and strengthened punishment for drunken driving,” a ministry official said.

Nearly 20,000 non-farmers, including about 2,500 government and public sector workers, illegally received tens of billions of won in rice farming subsidies for farmers since the program was introduced in 2005, according to a 2009 government report.

Under a massive anti-corruption drive, President Lee Myung-bak is tightening discipline among bureaucrats following a series of revelations of corruption cases involving senior officials and state auditors.

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