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Ministry to stick to plan on plural charity groups

The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Wednesday denied allegations that the government may scrap a plan to allow multiple charity organizations to receive donations.

The denial came after a U.S. charity leader was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying that Health and Welfare Minister Chin Soo-hee agreed with his view that the country needs no second charity organizer.

“Increasing the number of charity groups does no good in inducing more people to participate in donation campaigns. I talked to the minister about it and she shared understanding with me on the concept,” Brian Gallagher, head of the United Way Worldwide, told the news agency Tuesday after meeting Chin.

But a ministry official disputed the reported remarks: “The minister has never spoken a word about the issue of a second charity organization and does not think monopolistic authorization is good either,” he said.

Currently, the scandal-ridden Community Chest of Korea operates as the sole charity group approved by the government to receive donations. It has collected tens of billions of won every year.

The CCK was engulfed last year in a jaw-dropping corruption and embezzlement scandal involving its employees.

A parliamentary audit found a wide range of irregularities by CCK staff including manipulation of account books, splurging with company funds on private dining and wining, as well as recruiting workers based on inappropriate procedures.

The group recently sacked or disciplined dozens of its staffers.

“We have reflected all requests from the ministry (regarding the disciplinary measures),” said Park Sung-joong, CCK secretary general.

Chin told reporters after the scandal broke that the government would be considering authorizing more than two charity organizations to prevent corruption and induce them to compete against each other for better service.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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