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Development Overview

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Development Overview
Government and Law Governance

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Governance

Rise in efforts for preventing corruption

Fifth and Sixth Republics: Taking a Political Approach to Corruption
 
(1) The New Military Regime’s Approach to Corruption
The Fifth Republic was born with a new group of military leaders that came to power in the tumultuous aftermath of President Park’s assassination on October 26, 1979. The new military regime, led by Chun Doohwan, ostensibly campaigned for the realization of a just society through exposure and punishment of corruption. In his inaugural address, Chun called corruption “a legacy of the past,” and attributed it mainly to contradictions borne out of rapid economic development, the disappearance of morality in the bureaucracy, and the backward cast of people’s minds. The new government, in other words, saw the decline of public service ethics and values as a byproduct of economic growth, and launched a powerful social purification campaign that featured comprehensive and rigorous audits and inspections. The Chun administration attempted a more scientific and sophisticated approach than its predecessor to the elimination of corruption, even going so far as to develop a public service diagnosis system comprised of experts and scholars.
The Chun administration grouped various forms of bureaucratic corruption into four types: bribery, pursuit of privileges, complacency, and management failures. Its anti-corruption efforts involved assigning different tactics and solutions to these four types. The Chun administration also divided the incidents of corruption in public service between those pertaining to politics and those to administration, and developed a systematic roadmap for administrative reforms and institutional improvements. It also pursued the enforcement of disciplinary action against corrupt officials as the foremost goal of its social purification campaign. This new government, then, though it considered systemic and institutional elements as well as individual-oriented, behavioral elements in crafting anti-corruption measures, on the whole placed more emphasis on reforming the mindsets of public officials than on institutional reforms. Rather than treating anti-corruption as an issue on a long-term reform agenda, the Chun administration sought to produce visible outcomes in the short run.
Although the Sixth Republic came into being after a democratic election, the President and other members of the ruling elite inherited much from the Fifth Republic, and failed to rid their government of the features and characteristics of the earlier military governments. In an effort to overcome this and secure legitimacy in the public’s opinion, the Roh Taewoo administration launched rigorous anti-corruption efforts in various areas. The Sixth Republic viewed corruption as an inevitable product of the transition from an authoritarian society to a democratic one, pointing a finger, like previous Republics, at individual public officials and government employees who had failed to act legally and ethically as this transition took place.

Accordingly, the Roh administration sought to instill and reinforce ethics and principles in government employees as the main goal of its anti-corruption campaigns. The Roh administration proposed at its outset to prevent corruption by introducing democratic and autonomous auditing and inspection, and carried out new efforts to reinforce ethics and a sense of responsibility in government employees while increasing the severity of punishments for bribery, embezzlement and misappropriation, complacency, and management failures. In audits and inspections, the Roh administration stressed democracy, responsibility, prevention, and assistance as the key values or goals of such processes, thereby replacing former ex-post-control anti-corruption efforts with more proactive and morale-boosting strategies. In particular, the Roh administration sought to eliminate institutional factors leading to corruption in advance rather than treating the corrupt practices and behavior of government officials with ex-post discipline and control. Moreover, the Roh administration used audits and inspections as a means of encouraging and protecting competent, hardworking government employees by providing them with better conditions in which to perform their duties. This administration thus distinguished itself from its predecessors by approaching corruption in public service at a more preventive and fundamental level.
 
(2) New Military Regime’s Anti-Corruption Efforts
The new military regime that rose to power in the aftermath of President Park Chunghee’s assassination in 1979 and launched the Fifth Republic began its term by waging a number of severe campaigns against corrupt public officials—expropriating the wealth they had amassed illegally and tackling other forms of corruption. The new government’s zeal for social purification and anti-corruption was strong and unbridled, and mostly decided and carried out by a new provisional body, the Standing Committee for Emergency National Security Measures (SCENSM), in rather questionable ways. For example, properties were seized and recalled to the National Treasury without the due processes of law. Such handling of corrupt individuals in manners not restricted by existing laws or systems betrayed the anxiety with which the new military regime sought to legitimize itself in public opinion. However, such approaches did not yield rational and trustworthy results; rather, they served as additional means to uphold the ruling elite’s authoritarianism and repression, and in this way, actually endorsed the corruption they were supposed to prevent. 
 
1) Organizational measures
The anti-corruption organizations of the Chun administration included, in addition to the SCENSM, the Social Purification Committee (SPC) and the Next Korea Foundation (NKF). Prior to the organization of the new Civilian Government of the Fifth Republic, the leaders of the military coup formed the SCENSM and through it waged anti-corruption campaigns. After the new government formally came into being, the SPC led all governmental anti-corruption efforts. The main activities of the SCENSM involved punishing corrupt officials and individuals who had amassed wealth illegally; purifying the consciousness of government employees; rounding up gangsters, blackmailers, those who had committed fraud, smugglers, and other such types of criminals; banning private tutoring and “normalizing” education; and simplifying public service procedures (SPC, 1988, 15-18).

The SPC, which officially began its operations on October 28, 1980, was at first intended as a provisional body to replace the functions of the SCENSM. Its main tasks included: (1) researching and planning social purification programs; (2) coordinating and controlling administrative bodies, public organizations, and other affiliated institutions created under either presidential or prime ministerial decrees to promote social purification; (3) handling education and public relations on social purification; and (5) handling other matters of social purification upon orders from above. In the meantime, the NKF was founded and oversaw the development and operation of the Public Service Diagnosis System (PSDS). The PSDS was used to carry out periodical analyses on the integrity of government employees, with the data derived put toward identifying the improvements necessary for bureaucratic purification. This system was launched in response to what the Chun administration identified as the main reason its predecessors’ anti-corruption efforts had failed: lack of comprehensive research and analyses on the different ways corruption affects the varied ministries, departments, and organizations of the government. The NKF was thus put in charge of conducting “social purity surveys” and measuring the integrity of government employees at regular intervals (SPC, 1988, 150).

The Roh administration, on the other hand, stressed democratic and autonomous auditing and inspection as the key instrument of anti-corruption reforms, and sought to remove traces of authoritarianism from the audit and inspection system. The anti-corruption organizations created during this era included the Office of Administrative Coordination 4, which was newly added to the Prime Minister’s Office and replaced the Office of the Secretary to the President for Audit and Inspection and the SPC of the Fifth Republic. The Roh administration also adopted the Audit and Inspection Ministerial Council and the Auditors Council, abolishing the Chun administration’s system of pre-deliberations on the nomination and selection of high-ranking officials and board members of government-invested organizations. The Ministerial Council was also adopted to boost the democratic nature of audit and inspection.

In addition, the Roh administration created the Advisory Group for Audit and Inspection Policies as part of the Prime Minister’s Office to hear and gather public opinion on the government’s audit and inspection policies. In its first two years, the Roh administration promoted the development of infrastructure for accountable auditing and inspection by the Cabinet as the key instrument for allowing heads of governmental organizations to conduct responsible audit and inspections autonomously. Increasing political and social controversies, however, led the administration to reinforce its own audit and inspection activities in 1990, thus signaling a return to the authoritarian audit and inspection system of the past. In its later years, the Roh administration thus created multiple provisional audit and inspection bodies, such as special mission audit and inspection teams, inspection mobilization teams, joint special inspection teams, the Special Investigation Department, and the like (Public Information Bureau, 1992).
 
2) Legal and institutional measures
Enforcement of discipline, improvement of institutions, and reform of consciousness were the three major slogans and objectives of the Fifth Republic’s anti-corruption efforts. Enforcement of discipline referred to mobilizing the external, coercive power of the state to punish and deter various forms of social corruption and illegalities on the surface. Improvement of institutions entailed making changes to culture, institutions, and systems in general to eliminate the social and cultural roots of corruption. Reform of consciousness involved educational and edifying activities aimed at correcting people’s values (SPC, 1988, 62-63). The Fifth Republic designated a broader scope of administrative reforms and institutional improvements than its predecessors. The Chun administration set out on an ambitious campaign for downsizing governmental organizations and promoted administrative reforms for removing obstacles to institutional growth.

The Chun administration also newly appointed Action Officers for the Purification Movement at the ministries of home affairs, culture & education, and commerce & industry, as well as in the Seoul City administration. Municipalities and provinces were also required to hire social instructors to support the purification activities of nongovernmental organizations. The Fifth Republic systematized educational programs for reinforcing ethics and responsibility in government employees, and also made many more efforts than its predecessors to introduce new and better legislative and institutional means for anti-corruption efforts. Examples include the Charter for the Ethics of Government Employees, the Public Service Ethics Act (PSEA), the Favoritism Denouncement Movement, the Public Integrity Honor Awards, and the Real-name Financial Transaction Policy. In particular, the PSEA, promulgated in December 1981, represented a significant improvement in governmental anti-corruption efforts, introducing such new and important changes as requiring government employees to report and register their private properties, as well as any gifts they had received; and placing restrictions on the employment of retired government employees.

The Roh administration of the Sixth Republic launched the New Order and New Life Movement in 1990, inheriting the rigor and ambition of its predecessor’s anti-corruption campaigns. The “New Order” here referred to a new safe and orderly society devoid of threats of illegality, disorder, and crime; while “New Life” represented the ideal of a healthy and moral society free of all forms of social pathologies and malaise. The campaign introduced a new policy for reducing corruption in public service, which became the centerpiece of the Roh administration’s anti-corruption efforts (O, 1995, 299-300).[1] Nevertheless, the campaign carried only limited effects because it lacked systematic plans, a statutory basis, and institutional grounds, and was conducted in an impromptu manner according to the President’s instructions and requests.

The Roh administration’s focus was more on proactively improving institutions and reducing factors of corruptive behavior than on enforcing discipline against corrupt government employees. Accordingly, the Roh administration identified taxation, transportation, construction, fire safety, sanitation, and the natural environment as the six areas of public service most vulnerable to corruption, and launched a series of measures to improve the involved institutions and inhibit corruption-inducing factors. This administration also diversified the scope of its anti-corruption activities to include not only warning and punishment, but also measures for boosting the morale and stability of the bureaucracy. For instance, the it made changes to the additional-points system by revising the performance evaluation criteria for government employees on June 29, 1991, and expanded the scope of the voluntary retirement system as well as the prescheduled promotion system (up to Grades 6 and 7). Joint banquets, overseas exchange programs, trips to industrial facilities and frontline troops, and visits to other administrative bodies were also provided, encouraged, and systematized to boost the morale and job-related capabilities of government employees.
 
3) Controlling corruptive behavior
The military and former-military leaders of the Fifth Republic, who rose to power via a military coup, sought to secure a degree of legitimacy in public opinion by enforcing punitive anti-corruption measures of an unprecedented scale and rigor. The new military government under the Chun administration extended the scope of governmental anti-corruption efforts to society at large in launching the so-called “Social Purification Movement.” Although the Chun administration’s campaign involved diverse anti-corruption measures, including preventive measures for institutions, it is still mainly remembered for its zeal in enforcing audits and inspections. The Blue House’s deep involvement in these activities turned audit and inspection into an instrument serving the new military government’s political ends rather than the goal of anti-corruption per se. In other words, the superficial pursuit of just governance and the elimination of corruption failed to work and ended up desensitizing society to corruption due to the corruption of the ruling elite itself.[2] The harsh and repressive measures employed in the name of anti-corruption served to make various forms of corruption go underground and increased the side effects of corrective measures applied in public service. For instance, 1,322 of the government employees who were laid off or dismissed due to corruption charges in the Fifth Republic were hired back in their original positions in public service in the Sixth Republic, and a total compensation of KRW 105.3 billion was paid out to 6,113 dismissed government employees (Office of the Secretary to the Prime Minister for Administrative Coordination, 1993, 32).

The inconsistent levels of zeal and rigor applied to the exposure and punishment of corrupt government employees were evident in both the Fifth and Sixth Republics, as such actions were often dictated by political or social needs. According to a government report, the number of corrupt government employees exposed and/or punished between 1988 and 1991 was 153,035 in total, but fluctuated severely from year to year, i.e., 25,776 in 1988; 36,561 in 1989; 48,374 in 1990; and 42,213 in 1991 (Public Information Bureau, 1992).
 
(3) Characteristics and Outcomes of the New Military Regime’s Anti-Corruption Efforts
The Fifth and Sixth Republics, led by military or former-military leaders who rose to power in the aftermath of a presidential assassination, waged strong anti-corruption campaigns centered on audits and inspections of wrongdoing to quell the old ruling elite and secure legitimacy. Though their zealous efforts helped subdue rampant corruption initially, in the end they rather cemented corruption as an integral feature of the new ruling elite and desensitized the public to the rhetoric and cause of fighting corruption.

The audit- and inspection-centered anti-corruption efforts of the Chun and Roh administrations were characterized as follows.

First, anti-corruption measures were employed for political ends, particularly for toppling the existing ruling class and replacing it with a new political order and elite. To this end, the wealth and properties of the old elite were confiscated and seized in the name of eliminating corruption.
Second, the scope of anti-corruption efforts was not limited to acts and practices legally defined as corrupt, but extended to society at large under the umbrella of “social purification.” Anti-corruption, in other words, took on a public and educational nature, as the legitimacy-thirsty military regime waged ethical and moral campaigns.
Third, most auditing and inspections were carried out not by existing authorities according to established laws or procedures, but at the personal request of the President and his inner circle, for political ends.
 

 
[1] The specific aims of the anti-corruption campaign in the bureaucracy were as follows: (1) reinforcing autonomous auditing and inspection during “corruption-vulnerable” periods and strictly enforcing rewards and discipline; (2) reinforcing educational programs, including special, workplace, departmental communication, and other such programs, for inspiring commitment to public service; (3) exposing structural and conventional corruption and eliminating the root causes; (4) conducting routine auditing of corruption-prone tasks and holding the heads of corruption-prone organizations jointly responsible for the acts of corruption committed by their subordinates; (5) reinforcing the activities of the Special Corruption Investigation Department and the Special Public Audit Team of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office; and (6) identifying and awarding exemplary government employees.
[2] The Chun administration went so far as declaring each week as the time for fighting and eliminating certain factors of corruption in an effort to maintain repressive control over the people. Such actions, however, rather fatigued and desensitized people to anti-corruption efforts.

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.
 
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Civilian Government (1993 to 1997)

 

1) Approach to corruption

The Kim Youngsam administration prided itself on being the first “Civilian Government,” i.e., a government led by a non-military (civilian) president elected by popular vote. Anti-corruption became the first and foremost issue on the new government’s agenda as it set out to establish a new political order in the aftermath of decades-long military rule. Corruption in public service was a serious issue for the Civilian Government, which divided such corruption into two types: moral decline and illegalities. “Moral decline” was defined as complacency, lack of friendliness, and willing submission to unethical and unfair orders from above; while “illegalities” included legally punishable acts of corruption, such as embezzlement and misappropriation, offering monetary gifts to superiors, and accepting bribes (CPCC, 1997: 5). The Civilian Government, in other words, possessed quite a broad understanding of corruption, viewing it as encompassing not only acts prohibited by law but also the less-than-ideal behavior and attitudes of government employees. The audit and inspection campaign of the Civilian Government thus intended to leave no stone unturned, including in its scope not only bureaucrats, but also individuals close to President Kim and even former presidents. Members of the administration, government-affiliated bodies, and the military, and even high-profile figures in politics and the economy, were not exempt either.

 

Though the Civilian Government identified the lack of morality in government employees and the backward cast of people’s minds as root causes of corruption, adapting the views of its predecessors, it nonetheless differentiated itself by introducing the most systematic and organized audit and inspection processes seen in Korea up to that point. In particular, the Civilian Government pointed to the cozy relations between politics and businesses, the lack of transparency in the bureaucracy, and defects in various regulations and administrative procedures as the fundamental causes of corruption in Korea. It thus launched a comprehensive anti-corruption campaign encompassing all areas of society and government.

 

2) Anti-corruption efforts

 

(i) Organizational aspect

The Civilian Government amended the BAI Act to address the shortcomings of the accounting-centered audit and inspection command system and to create a new position, i.e., the Deputy Executive Director of Duty Inspection. The amended legislation also detailed procedures for the audit and inspection of outsourced government projects and of government-endowed institutions and organizations, murky areas in the first version of the Act. In addition, the revised Act provided for the establishment of the Audit and Inspection Training Institute to improve the competency and qualifications of auditors and inspectors working at central administrative agencies, local government organizations, and government-invested organizations. It also exempted organizations with exemplary autonomous audit and inspection records from the audit and inspection requirement, and introduced the audit and inspection commissioning system to enable the heads of central agencies, local government organizations, and government-invested organizations to conduct and report on the auditing and inspection of affiliated institutions (Public Information Bureau, 1997, 28).

 

The Civilian Government established the Corruption Prevention and Countermeasures Committee (CPCC) within the BAI on April 9, 1993. The CPCC gathered the opinions of experts from diverse fields, reflecting these in its proposals and recommendations to the BAI (CPCC, 1994, 71). Specifically, the CPCC launched fact-finding missions, researched and developed plans for improving legislation and identifying corruption-prone institutions, and handled education and public relations for consciousness reform (CPCC, 1994, 9-10). It also revised the Audit and Inspection Guideline (July 24, 1995) to improve the efficiency of the autonomous audits and inspections conducted by various governmental entities and the Audit and Inspection Ministerial Council. In particular, the revised guideline delineated a new process for reporting on audit and inspection plans and included new terms for coordinating inter-ministerial and departmental exchange on social discipline, while clarifying conditions for supporting the audit and inspection of local government organizations.

 

The Civilian Government also installed the Special Corruption Investigation Bureau in the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, which launched uncompromising investigations into chronically corruption-prone areas of public service, such as taxation and healthcare. These investigations targeted 16,934 individuals in total, and ended in the arrest of 7,511 (Public Information Bureau, 1997, 24). The Committee for Administration Reform (CAR) was then established to investigate the corruption-prone institutions and tasks of each ministry or department with respect to licensing and authorization work (Public Information Bureau, 1997, 28), followed by the Council for the Establishment of National Discipline (CEND) which was presided by the President himself. Another noteworthy aspect of the Civilian Government’s anti-corruption drive was that it actively encouraged and enlisted nongovernmental organizations’ participation. The Coalition of Citizens Economic Justice (CCEJ), the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), the People’s Solidarity for Expulsion of Corruption and Irrationalities (PSECI), the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Korea, the People’s Solidarity for Administrative Reformation (PSAR), and other such organizations flourished in Korean civil society at this time.

 

The CCEJ, founded in 1993, sought to expel all forms of economic corruption and injustice from Korean society through launching public awareness campaigns, investigating complaints, and providing counseling services. The Coalition went on to create a number of reporting centers, including those for reporting legal practice brokers, budget wastes, tax frauds, and the like, and also organized various public forums and civilian ombudsmen groups. The PSPD, established in October 1994 under the slogan, “For a Society without Corruption or Privileged Quarters,” launched the Making a Clean Society Headquarters in 1996. It also lobbied for the enactment of the Framework Anti-Corruption Act and other institutional improvements, organized support for whistleblowers, and formed a citizens’ group for monitoring corruption and overseeing the recall of illegally amassed wealth. Moreover, the PSPD set up the Citizens Monitoring Bureau, equipped with the People’s Watch over Judiciary Affairs Center and the People’s Watch over Legislative Affairs Center, in an effort to systematize the public’s check on governmental activities. The PSECI was established in December 1995 to expose corruption, restore morality, raise public awareness, protect the national spirit and identity, and realize a just society. The organization particularly focused on restoring the rights of individual victims of biased police or prosecutorial investigations, unfair court decisions, unethical lawyers, and unfair organizations/corporations/collective entities. The PSECI also played an important role in exposing corruption in private tutorial schools and in monitoring judicial reforms. The YMCA of Korea organized the Citizens Arbitration Office to help protect citizens’ rights and interests. The Office was created to hear reports on various forms of corruption, provide assistance for protecting workers’ rights, receive consumer complaints regarding products, protect the tenants of rented housing, and provide legal counseling. Voluntary associations, such as the Citizens’ Movement Council for a Just Society, continued to spring up throughout the 1990s. The PSAR, for instance, founded in 1997 to improve operation of the Korean government, continues to hear reports from citizens in such areas as the unsatisfactory performances or attitudes of government employees, unfair fees and charges, preferential treatments, excessive administrative regulations, etc. In essence, the Civilian Government era saw the multiplication and thriving of citizens’ own anti-corruption efforts.

 

(ii) Legal and institutional aspects

The Civilian Government instituted a number of groundbreaking legislative and institutional reforms to fight corruption. It not only enforced, with enhanced rigor, the obligation of government employees to disclose and report their wealth using the Real-Name Financial Transaction System, but also amended the PSEA, and enacted the Information Disclosure Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Special Act on the Seizure of Government Employee Criminals’ Wealth. As part of legislative anti-corruption reforms, the Integrated Election Act and the Political Fund Act were also passed and enforced to prevent corruption among politicians. Under the Civilian Government, the scope of properties and wealth that government employees were obligated to disclose and report was broadened. The Special Act on the Seizure of Government Employee Criminals’ Wealth concerned not only the wealth that government employees amassed illegally, but also all derivative wealth as well as losses to the National Treasury caused by government accountants and related parties. The enactment and amendment of anti-corruption laws formed the basis of the legislative anti-corruption reform of the Civilian Government.

 

The Civilian Government also saw the elimination of authoritarianism, opportunism, and their vestiges from bureaucratic institutions and practices. The CAR, organized on April 20, 1993, and charged with leading institutional improvements, pursued administrative deregulation and revisions to irrational laws and procedures as top-priority issues in need of urgent solving. Efforts toward these ends culminated in the Fundamental Act on Administrative Regulation, which became the legislative framework for deregulation. The Act clarified and specified the terms of administrative regulation already delineated in the Fundamental Act on Administrative Regulation and Civil Affairs, and also provided for the establishment of a powerful regulatory reform agency, analyses of regulatory impact, a sunset clause, and regulation reviews (Hong, 1997, 12).

 

Moreover, the Civilian Government launched serious investigations into and pursued prosecutions of former presidents and other related parties, showing the strength of its commitment to identifying and bringing wrongdoers to justice. The average number of government employees disciplined or punished each year on corruption charges, from 1993 to 1997, was over 5,500, a significant rise from the 4,000 yearly average during the Sixth Republic. The level of severity applied to the punishment of high-ranking officials also increased, with 36 such officials punished in 1993 alone, compared to only three in 1991 and two in 1992 (Ministry of Government Administration Annals, 1997, 192).

 

The Civilian Government not only strengthened the audit, inspection, and punishment of corruption, but also adopted emotional strategies aimed at boosting the morale and dedication of government employees to stop corruption before it could begin. Specifically, the Kim administration introduced a new set of criteria for evaluating government employee performance that considered the achievement of targets, and based promotions on the results of both this evaluation and the existing promotion examination. Mid-level managers were given greater authority over policy planning, while the number of team or section heads was increased at central ministries, departments, and affiliated institutions as a way to solve the personnel congestion problem. The seniority-based promotion system was also expanded in scope. In addition, the working Saturday system was introduced (June 1995) and applied to all ministries, departments, and select local government organizations, and the management-by-hour working system was also adopted to improve productivity and the strictness of duty management (Public Information Bureau, 1997(b), 29). The Kim administration also launched the Campaign for Straightening Historical Records, a new system of local government and administration, and a series of other initiatives for devolving the powers of the central government to local authorities. All in all, the central focus of the public service reform drive was on enhancing internal control of the bureaucracy.

 

2) Evaluation

The Civilian Government promised to “create a new Korea” and staked the fate of that promise on fighting and eliminating corruption. Audits and inspections were conducted at an unprecedented level of rigor and severity, and punishments meted out accordingly. The first noteworthy outcome of the Civilian Government’s anti-corruption drive was the increased autonomy, stature, and authority of the BAI. The Civilian Government’s audit and inspection campaign also helped to reform the state of personnel management in the military and keep high-ranking officials in check. In addition to strengthening the investigation and punishment of corrupt government employees, the Civilian Government also distinguished itself from its predecessors by pursuing legislative and institutional reforms aimed at preventing corruption, reforms which included expanding and reinforcing the obligation of wealth disclosure among government employees and use of the Real-Name Financial Transaction System, and amending the PSEA and enacting the Information Disclosure Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. These efforts for preventing corruption also naturally encouraged and multiplied nongovernmental organizations’ commitment to fighting corruption in civil society.

 

In the end, however, the Civilian Government still failed to achieve an overarching, comprehensive anti-corruption program, with most of its anti-corruption efforts relying on the strong determination of President Kim. In other words, anti-corruption in the Korean government was still a matter of presidential commitment, and the mode in which governmental anti-corruption efforts were decided, carried out, and directed remained authoritarian. Governmental anti-corruption campaigns were coercive and top-down for the most part during this period, and eventually lost their impetus when the President’s son was involved in the biggest corruption scandal of the Kim administration, and the Foreign Exchange Crisis hit Korea. Moreover, such leader-centered, audit-and-inspection-based anti-corruption efforts could not evade charges of being politically motivated, and as such failed to prove to the public their necessity. Even so the Civilian Government should be recognized for the comprehensive scope of its reforms which were aimed at breaking the circle of corruption upheld by the uncomfortably close relationship between politicians and corporations, and for its success in improving anti-corruption institutions and systems, including the audit and inspection process. The Civilian Government also deserves credit for maintaining a consistent and tenacious approach to audit and inspection and institutional improvement throughout most of its term.

 

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.