Suspicions of nepotistic employment at public corporations have proved to be true in an audit by the top administrative watchdog. According to the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI), five stateor city-run companies, including Seoul Metro, have hired the relatives of existing employees as irregular or contract workers and promoted them to regular positions since 2017.
Out of the 3,048 employees whose status was changed from irregular to permanent at the five enterprises, up to 19.1 percent, or one in every five, were the relatives of existing employees. The other four organizations involved are the Korea Land &Housing Corp., Incheon International Airport Corp., the Human Resources Development Service of Korea and KEPCO KPS.
At Seoul Metro, for example, all of the existing employees’ relatives who landed jobs at the recommendation of their family members through simplified procedures, such as interviews, became full-time employees later. The BAI requested Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon fire the CEO of Seoul Metro and take disciplinary action against officials responsible for personnel management.
The BAI has also demanded the five public companies discipline 72 officials. Furthermore, it requested the prosecution to investigate 29 of them.
Korea is now mired in a national controversy about fair and equal opportunities, especially in the wake of President Moon Jaein’s appointment of Cho Kuk, his trusted — but hypocritical aide — as justice minister. Entering good schools and landing decent jobs are the two most sensitive areas of all. The law enforcement authorities should punish all violators as a warning to others and to break this vicious cycle.