Nuclear fraud figures back on job

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Nuclear fraud figures back on job



Three high-level officials at a state-run energy company who resigned from their posts last year after a corruption scandal involving counterfeit parts in nuclear plants are back on the job, according to an NPAD lawmaker.

One of the three was re-employed in two months, while the other two had their jobs back within nine months.

The findings were presented by New Politics Alliance for Democracy Rep. Chun Soon-ok during a National Assembly audit hearing yesterday for Kepco E&C.

Chun said she found out about the rehirings while reviewing a document submitted by the company, a subsidiary of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco).

“Rehiring these executives is a fraudulent action against the public,” said Chun. “These people resigned on their own will after the company was found to have been involved in an illicit activity that allowed faulty parts to be installed in nuclear plants.”

In June last year, two state-run companies - the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP) and Kepco E&C - removed a total of 246 executives in the wake of the scandal that involved counterfeit and uninspected nuclear parts.

The faulty parts caused the affected power plants to be shut down numerous times.

After the parts scandal was revealed, the public became outraged when the former government officials were rehired at smaller affiliates of state-run companies. The rehiring was considered corrupt, and included other practices such as taking bribes for parts supplies.

Two executives from KHNP, the main public corporation in charge of managing operations of nuclear reactors, resigned in January.

However, top management at Kepco E&C followed suit only after it was unveiled that none at the company was discovered that no one had taken responsibility and resigned.

That fueled a public outcry that resulted in immediate resignation of the three officials.

But it turns out the executives got new positions at the energy company as contract workers while receiving annual salaries of between 50 million won ($47,187) and 60 million won.

The lawmaker said all three men are figures who have powerful influence within the company, as they have worked there for more than 30 years. They had even received paychecks of as much as 180 million won a year.

One of the officials, surnamed Kim, who was in charge of management and planning, also acted as a proxy CEO for four months beginning in June 2013 after CEO Ahn Seung-kyu resigned in the face of mounting public anger over the corruption scandal.

Kim currently works in the company’s public relations department.

“The rehiring of executives is unethical and completely violates the social responsibility made by the current CEO of eradicating any corruption,” the lawmaker claimed.


BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]


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