Antigraft limits will remain the same, for now

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Antigraft limits will remain the same, for now

The cabinet has finalized and approved the enforcement decree of a new, tougher antigraft law, taking the last step to implement it as scheduled on Sept. 28, the anticorruption commission announced Tuesday.

The Anticorruption and Civil Rights Commission said Tuesday that various opinions had been presented on the price ceilings for entertainments and gifts, but the enforcement decree maintained the limits originally decided, despite numerous appeals from industries to raise the limits.

The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, also known as the Kim Young-ran Law, which was named after the former head of the commission who first drafted the bill, will prohibit public servants, teachers at both private and public schools and media industry workers from being treated to meals costing more than 30,000 won, ($27.14), accepting gifts over 50,000 won or receiving congratulatory or condolence payments worth more than 100,000 won. Their spouses are also covered by the law.

Under the law, foreigners will also be punished if they make improper solicitation attempts or offer bribes in Korea. “The standards were set in order to uphold the purpose and intention of the law and to help build a transparent society,” the commission said.

But it will be possible to raise the ceiling limits in the future. The government’s regulatory reform committee will conduct a survey at the end of 2018 to review the standards after enforcing the law for two years.

More specifics on the law were decided under the enforcement decree, including the ceiling limits for the payments that public servants can receive by giving outside lectures. An official higher than a minister is allowed to receive up to 500,000 won per one-hour lecture. A vice ministerial official is entitled to 400,000 won per hour. A public servant higher than level-four will receive up to 300,000 won per hour and the rest will receive up to 200,000 won per hour.

The total payment for a lecture, however, cannot exceed 150 percent of the hourly payment, no matter its total length.

Teachers of private schools and media executives are allowed to receive up to 1 million won per hour.

The commission also offered manuals on the new law for public servants in different fields on its homepage. The manuals include specific examples and answers to frequently asked questions. Manuals for teachers and journalists will be revealed Friday.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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