Gov’t penalizes builders with history of bribery

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Gov’t penalizes builders with history of bribery

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said yesterday that it will effectively ban construction firms that have a history of bribery from participating in future government projects.

Construction firms’ bribing of government officials in return for state projects has been a long-standing practice in the industry. There are laws that prevent such builders from bidding for state projects or suspend their operations, but firms have filed injunction lawsuits enabling them to bid for projects without much difficulty as the cases are tied up in court.

The ministry said it came up with the measures to fill the loophole and make it possible to put actual restrictions on these builders.

Other government agencies and ministries will communicate on how to increase the deduction of points or limit the duration in which such builders can bid for state projects. The ministry will ask public corporations under its umbrella to change evaluation standards accordingly.

For outsourcing construction design, it will also deduct points from design firms that have a history of bribery and make public the names of judges who select these groups.

In addition to bribery, the ministry will also disadvantage builders that have a history of cartel activities or other irregularities.

Recently, prosecutors have been investigating corruption in bids for state projects. They have found many irregularities in so-called turnkey projects, meaning a project is completed by a developer and sold or turned over to a buyer in a ready-to-use condition.

In April, Incheon District Office prosecutors raided two construction firms for lobbying judges for a large project to upgrade environmental standards and build a park in Hanam, Gyeonggi. In a separate case, a construction firm offered billions of won to public officials for a project ordered by the Gwangju government last year.

By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]

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