New group takes aim at corruption

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New group takes aim at corruption

The Presidential Commission Against Corruption opened Friday. The commission is charged with rooting out corruption among civil servants as wide-ranging corruption involving senior government officials plague the nation.

The Anti-Corruption Act also went in effect Friday. Under the law, the commission can compensate those who report corruption, but may not reveal their identities without their consent. If the commission feels prosecutors neglected their duties by not indicting senior officials implicated in a corruption case, it may ask a high court to rule on the matter. If the court sides with the commission in such a scenario, the ruling will serve as an indictment of those senior officials.

President Kim Dae-jung appointed nine civilians to the commission, which is led by Kang Chul-gyu.

"A system which does not allow for corruption should be initiated," President Kim said. He stressed a particular need to crack down on tax fraud.

Accepting his appointment as head of the commission, Mr. Kang said, "I will crack down on both small and big irregularities of civil servants, with a primary focus on senior government officials so that they can set a positive standard."

Mr. Kang also said that he will encourage citizens to blow the whistle on corruption, reform government systems and expand transparency of government services.

He stressed using the "carrot" more freely than the "stick" to create an environment where honesty on the job is respected.

Prime Minister Lee Han-dong, Lee Keun-sik, minister of government administration and home affairs; Kim Hak-jae, senior Blue House secretary for civil affairs, and Lee Jong-nam, head of the Board of Audit and Inspection, attended the opening ceremony for the committee.

by Rah Hyun-cheol

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