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Parliament extends collection of fines from former leaders

The National Assembly approved the so-called Chun Doo-hwan act that will give authorities more leverage in collecting fines from public officials including former presidents.

The measures, introduced by revising the Act on Special Cases Concerning Forfeiture for Offenses by Public Officials, extend the statute of limitation for collecting fines from government officials from three to 10 years, and allow the authorities to confiscate assets held under borrowed names.

The revision was approved with 227 of the 233 lawmakers attending the session voting in favor.

It was drawn as part of the efforts to collect outstanding fines from former President Chun Doo-hwan, the statute of limitations for which would have expired in October this year without the revision.

The revised act gives the authorities until October 2020 to collect the remaining 167.2 billion won ($145.4 million) of the 220.5 billion won in fines from Chun.

In 1997, Chun was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay 220.5 billion won in penalties for leading an insurrection and accepting bribes while he was in power from 1980 to 1987.

In addition, a number of revisions to support small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the revised National Pension Act were approved at Thursday’s session. The revised pension act will enable the partial relocation of the National Pension Service to North Jeolla Province.

The parties also approved a number of resolutions including that for supporting activities aimed at giving overseas Koreans voting rights in their resident countries.

While the two main parties ― the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party ― processed a large number of issues, the two sides remained at odds in other areas with the ruling party blaming the DP.

Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, chief of Saenuri Party’s policy committee, accused the DP of holding back a number of key “people’s livelihood laws.”

“The Saenuri Party has declared that 111 essential acts will be processed during the June session, but some proposals that must be processed are being left untouched,” Kim said on Thursday.

Kim went onto urge the DP to cooperate in processing four issues including that of legislating the so-called special ICT act, which is designed to aid the technology industry.

The two parties had agreed on introducing the act in March, but the prospects of the bill being processed during the June session deteriorated following opposition from some DP lawmakers.

“(I) ask the DP to take immediate action instead of just saying that they will revive the economy and create jobs.”

In addition, the disparity in the two main parties’ stance on labor issues has caused further delay in processing the proposed Labor Standard Act revision. 

The revision includes measures to reduce working hours and strengthened conditions for companies to implement layoffs.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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