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The Political Economy of Corruption in Korea(5.끝)
chungheesoo

 

Corruption kills people; Corruption ruins the economy; Corruption violates human rights.

 

Joseph H. Chung (정희수), Ph.D., Professor of Economics at Quebec University in Montreal (UQAM)

 

 

(지난 호에 이어)

 

5.2 Micro-measures of anti-corruption

 Moon's government has taken several micro-measures to tackle the corruption of the conservatives.

 First, one of the roots of corruption is the influence peddling by the staff of the Blue House (Korean White House).

 Since Moon took over the power, there has been no single case of influence peddling. The mother of President has met no person outside her family for last two years to avoid rumours of influence-peddling which can be fabricated by the conservative media.

 Second, Moon has reduced greatly the functions of institutions of power. For instance, the function of the National Intelligence Service (former CIA) is reduced to the management of international information. Under the conservative government, its main function was to arrest those who oppose the government's corruption by accusing them as North Korean spy.

 Moreover, Moon abolished the Military Security Command whose function was to prevent unlawful activities within the armed forces. But, it was unlawfully involved in activities of spying those who criticized the conservative government.

 Third, Moon's government nominated a committee with the mission of re-investigating cases of obvious corruption and crimes committed by the community of corruption. For instance, there was the case of raping women by a deputy director of the Office of Prosecutor, but the case was not properly investigated partly because of bribes and partly because of his close relation with powerful people within the conservative government.

 Fourth, some of the leaders of media who sided with the community of corruption for the oppression of labour unions of reporters were replaced

 Fifth, Moon's government has passed a series of anti-corruption laws including the Kindergarten Law preventing the theft of public funds by founders of kindergartens.

 Sixth, Dozens of the Blue House personnel who collaborated with the corruption community of the conservatives have been punished

 Seventh, Perhaps the most difficult fight President Moon has started is the fight against the Office of Prosecutors.

 The Korean prosecutor system is the most powerful one in the world; it has the right of investigation of crime and corruption. True, the police also has the right of investigation, but it is the prosecutor's office which has the final say. Moreover, the prosecutor has the monopoly of indictment right.

 In the past, thousand cases of corruption and abuse of power have been accused. But few of them went beyond the office of prosecutor and to the court.

 In short, Korea has not been able to win the war against corruption mainly because of the corrupted prosecutor's monopoly of judiciary power.

 In Korea, there is no power which can rule the prosecutor, not even the president. In a way, the prosecutor has been the most powerful and effective defender of the corruption culture.

 To fight the prosecutor, Moon has been able to pass a law on the mechanism of supervising high ranking officials including prosecutors (Gong-Soo-Cheo). Moon has won a battle. But it is a long way to go before cleaning the corruption culture.

 The ultimate defender of corruption is money. The conservatives have been stacking up corruption money for last 70 years amounting hundreds of billions of dollars hidden in cash, real estate, stocks throughout the world.

 It may take more than 10 years, even 20 years of progressive government in power, before Korea can destroy completely the corruption culture.

 

5.3 Lessons

 There are some lessons which can be drawn from Korea's experience of corruption.

 First, the corruption must be stopped at the first stage of the evolution of corruption, that is, the stage of the bilateral collusion.

 Second, when the process of corruption attains the stage of oligarchy formation, it may take very hard measure to fight it.

 Third, if we wait until the stage of the corruption community, it may take decades to clean it. This is the case of Korea

 Fourth, one cannot rely always on the government for the elimination of corruption, because the government is often corrupted.

It is very fortunate that, in Korea, the progressive government of Moon is leading the fight against corruption. However, Moon needs the active cooperation of ordinary people to defeat corruption. The people are with him.

 

 

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