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Anti-corruption body to toughen law on bribery

Korea is strengthening anti-bribery rules to improve transparency in business, the head of the government’s anti-corruption agency said in a meeting with foreign business leaders Tuesday.

Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission Chairman Lee Sung-bo said the agency was pushing for new anti-corruption rules to root out illegal solicitation of public officials.

“There are already the anti-corruption law and the Public Service Ethics Act against illegal solicitation, but the current rules have limitations,” Lee said during a policy briefing.

Since its foundation, the ACRC has hosted a policy briefing for foreign firms in Korea every year. This year, some 60 foreign business executives including AMCHAM chairman and Boeing Korea president Pat Gaines, AMCHAM president Amy Jackson and Audi Volkswagen Korea CEO Johannes Thammer participated.

Speaking to the foreign representatives, Lee admitted that there were growing concerns over public officials’ irregularities and corruption.

He added that the commission was pushing for the enactment of the Act on Prevention of Illegal Solicitation and Conflict of Interest this year.

If enacted, a public official who demands or receives bribes from private companies will be prosecuted under criminal law, regardless of whether or not the bribe is related to the official’s duties. The new bill will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval in June, according to Lee.

“We promise to fully support you in doing business in Korea by building a fair and transparent environment,” Lee said.

The ACRC was established in 2008 by combining the Ombudsman of Korea, Korea Independent Commission against Corruption and the Administrative Appeals Commission.

For the past five years, the commission has received some 156,000 complaints and 12,300 reports of corruption and provided counseling services for more than 2 million civil petitions filed to the government call center.

The ACRC also runs one-stop Internet portal to file complaints with all central government agencies and public institutions. For foreigners, the site (www.epeople.go.kr) is currently available in 11 languages, the agency said.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)
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