A Cheong Wa Dae senior official is under scrutiny for allegedly using a credit card issued and paid for by the Ministry of Environment in exchange for accepting administrative favors.
According to Segye Ilbo, a daily newspaper, a presidential secretary for climate and environment was found to have accepted the credit card from the ministry through an internal probe conducted by Cheong Wa Dae’s civil affairs office. The presidential secretary delivered the credit card to one of the administrative staff at his office in May last year, saying he might need it and encouraged him to use it whenever he meets people outside of Cheong Wa Dae, the report said. The presidential staffer allegedly used a total of 1.65 million won on the credit card, it added.
Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook told reporters on Thursday that he is currently checking facts. He didn’t deny the report itself.
The report is the latest scandal involving presidential officials allegedly receiving customary sponsorships from related government offices. The scandal reflects how officials at ministries have been attempting to ingratiate themselves with Cheong Wa Dae staff to get promoted or to ask for other favors, the report said.
The report added that the civil affairs office had suggested high ranking officials hand out a disciplinary warning to the presidential secretary and order the Environment Ministry to check how credit cards issued in its name were being used and managed. It is unknown whether the presidential secretary faced any disciplinary action. The presidential secretary was not available to comment.
Controversy is growing over whether Cheong Wa Dae had tried to conceal the scandal and if the level of disciplinary action was appropriate. The report said the presidential office has already found other cases of officials receiving “sponsorship” from related ministries and then tried to cover up the incidents by ordering them to return to their previous position at government offices before entering Cheong Wa Dae.
The Board of Audit and Inspection, the nation’s top government watchdog, said inevitably those who are related in the scandal will be punished if the report turns out to be true.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)