Gov’t cracks down on dodgy hires at public firms

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Gov’t cracks down on dodgy hires at public firms

The government said on Monday it will dismiss eight heads of state-run institutions for corrupt recruitment, a malpractice that it said was “prevalent,” although it didn’t name the eight.

Authorities also said they suspended 266 officials at 1,190 state-funded bodies for their involvement in shady hiring practices, adding that they will be effectively dismissed if indicted.

The government’s announcement was a culmination of a crackdown on dodgy hiring practices at 1,190 public institutions that went on for two months last year. Of the 1,190 public bodies scrutinized, 946, or 79.4 percent were found to have hired people because of connections rather than their qualifications.

The government referred 109 cases of favoritism in hiring to law enforcement authorities because they warranted criminal probes. In another 255 cases it recommended internal punishments for those involved.

The government warned that it will carry out a “one-strike out” policy that offers no second chances to people implicated in corrupt employment.

“Those who were already indicted last December will be dismissed immediately and those who landed jobs using connections will be suspended from work effective today and will be dismissed in accordance with internal regulations,” said the government in a statement.

“I feel a sense of deep regret that the public institutions, which should be seen as model cases as this new administration pursues a fair society free of corruption, have been mired in favoritism being all too prevalent in recruitment,” said vice finance minister Kim Yong-jin during a joint meeting with the justice and interior ministries and the National Police Agency at the central government complex in Seoul. He said the government’s crackdown last year was a “first step” in rooting out the illegal practice.

Some 33 public institutions now face criminal investigations for corrupt recruitment, including the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service, Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Korea Venture Investment Corp, and the National Chorus of Korea.

For those who failed to get jobs because other people were hired thanks to their connections, public institutions will seek ways to give compensation.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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