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The Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office drafted by the ACRC was passed

  • Date2021-05-14
  • Hit994

The Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office drafted by the ACRC was passed at a plenary session in the National Assembly. The Law is scheduled to take effect from May next year.

 

- The law will be applicable to about 2 million public officials, creating a momentum to make Korea an advanced country in integrity -

- The ACRC “will swiftly take follow-up measures, including enactment of its enforcement ordinance, so that the Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office can be implemented from May next year without any problems.” -

(30 April 2021, ACRC)

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The Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office, which prevents and manages conflict-of-interest situations that may be faced by public officials, and eradicates pursuit of improper private interest, was passed at the plenary session of the National Assembly on 29th of April.

Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (Chairperson: Jeon Hyun-Heui; ACRC) announced that the Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office will be implemented from May next year after one year of preparation, including enactment of the enforcement ordinance, once the law is promulgated.

 

The Bill on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office was first submitted by the ACRC in 2013 to the 19th National Assembly. After 8 years, through the enactment of the law in the 21st National Assembly, the efforts finally came to the fruition.

 

For a long time, international organizations, such as the UN and the OECD, have emphasized that member countries need to introduce mechanisms for prevention of conflict of interest to deter corruption in the public sector. Advanced OECD members, such as the US, France, and Canada, have already established their laws for prevention of conflict of interest, strictly controling conflict of interest of public officials.

 

With the enactment of the Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office, Korea now has a preventive mechanism for conflicts of interest that is suitable to its international standing. This will be an opportunity to enhance the level of integrity in our society to the next level.

 

The ACRC has made multi-faceted efforts for the enactment of the law. From the 19th to the 21st National Assembly, the commission submitted government bills to enact the law. In April 2018, regulation for prevention of conflict of interest was added first to the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, a presidential degree, and has been implemented.

 

Due to recent Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH) speculation scandal, the general public demanded for fundamental prevention of the pursuit of private interest by public officials using information or power obtained while handling public affairs, namely real estate speculation.

 

As such, ACRC, a government agency responsible for anti-corruption activities, saw that institutional mechanism should be established to fundamentally prevent the pursuit of private interest by public officials in order to ultimately prevent such scandals, like the current LH situation. The commission also worked hard to promote through media and at the National Assembly that the Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office is the key solution.

 

Under the leadership of chairperson Jeon Hyun-Heui, all the members at the ACRC have been fully engaged in continued consultation and persuasion by visiting key stakeholders in the National Assembly, including the representatives of ruling and opposition parties, in person.

 

In the meantime, all walks of life expressed their interest and support. In particular, Private-Public Consultative Council for Transparent Society comprised of 32 representatives of the society from civil groups; namely People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, civil societies, businesses, trade associations, media, academia, and public organizations; issued statements and demanded for early adoption of the Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office.

 

The National Assembly also actively responded to the national demand for legislation of the Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office to stamp out the pursuit of private interest by public officials by holding eight sessions of legislative subcommittee meetings, beginning with the public hearing of the National Policy Committee on the 17th of last month.

 

The ACRC will do its best for one year in the follow-up measures required to enforce the law from May next year. First, the ACRC will commission research for the establishment of enforcement ordinance from this May, and after legislative procedure, it will complete the introduction of the enforcement ordinance within this year.

 

Furthermore, the ACRC will carry out active education activities, including briefing sessions by region and distribution of guide books, so that public officials, the subject of this law, fully understand the law and embrace it as a code of conduct in public offices. On top of this, it will wage a national campaign on various media channel to raise awareness of the key content of this law among the general public.

 

“I am deeply grateful to everyone including civil society, media and the National Assembly, for their efforts to make this law possible, and to the people who have been with us until we create this preventive mechanism for conflict of interest that can fundamentally prevent improper pursuit of private interest by abusing the position or power of public officials,” said Chairperson Jeon Hyun-Heui of ACRC. “The Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office will be a historic milestone for Korea to become a country having greater integrity.”

 

“As a pan-government control tower for anti-corruption, the ACRC will make special efforts to stably implement the Act on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Public Office, so that the public sector can regain trust tarnished by the recent LH speculation scandal, and Korea becomes an advanced country in terms of integrity by moving up to world’s top 20s in Corruption Perception Index (CPI),” she added.

 
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