11.20 Tue

Opinion

Ethics Committee is Just Another Tax Office

Mar 02,2000
With continuing concern over corruption by public officials, it is apparent that something must be done to find out if officials are using their offices to increase their own personal wealth. Despite the creation of the Ethics Committee nothing has really been accomplished concerning this issue.
The majority of public officials are known to have invested in the stock market in past years to increase their personal wealth. Amid the suspicions of illegal trading, the government's Ethics Committee of Public Officers was to perform an investigation of public officials, but then changed their attitude almost overnight.
The related official explained that that the ethics committee has no right to infinge upon the personal assets of individuals and the probe itself was illegal due to a misunderstanding of the related law.
It has been eight years since the assets of public officials have been made public, yet the average Korean is shielded from learning what these assets are. This is not logical.
Such cases clearly show that despite all the vows from past and present administrations to uproot corruption and all the wrong-doings of government officials, no administration has actually committed themselves to take any actual action.
To uphold justice within political circles, investigating officials' assets is a must when they may be committing illegal practices. So far Koreans have only reached the level of simply confirming the amount of assets.
The incumbent government frequently stresses that there can be no future without reform in public officialdom and promised to wage a war against corruption. An Anti-Corruption Committee was formed to make specific plans. However, with continuing conflicts between each department, nothing good has come from the committee.
Koreans are concerned whether this will end up as another useless quarrel. How long is the government planning to continue with this meaningless verbal fight?
It is about time that preparations were made to supplement the current system and get some real action.
The best way to scrape out the corruption within the circle of public officialdom lies in the thorough investigation of the personal assets of officials. Some kind of motivation must be given to public officials to make them understand this need and begin to behave properly.
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