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The Special business expense money is provided to meet the expenses used in operating special tasks such as investigation, audit, budget and inspection in each organization. As of this year, the budget for the special business expenses money which ranges from hundreds of millions to tens of billions of won was allocated to 51 public institutions.

 

  The size and use of the special business expense money attracted public attention after the issue of the former Constitutional Court chief justice nominee, Lee Dong-heub’s misappropriation of the special business expense money in January. In response the Ministry of Strategy and Finance hastily issued a guideline in using the special business expense money on February 1 which prohibits prepaying the money and providing cash. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy submitted to the Board of Audit a request of public interest audit on the special business expense money of Constitutional Court and other 12 institutions.

 

  However, the use of the special business expense money hasn’t been revealed in details. Some insiders stated through media reports that the special business expense money is provided in the name of activity costs or operational costs and there are cases that the existence of the special business expense money is not known. Paid monthly within the limit of 300,000 won, the money takes characteristics of side income since it does not require evidence for the amount up to 300,000 won.

 

  It seems that the budget on the special business expense money is executed differently depending on the organizations. Thus, the Center for Freedom of Information (CFOI) decided to delve into how each institution executes the budget for the special business expense money.

 

  The institutions whose information will be firstly disclosed at <How is Special business expense money used?!>are Korea Communications Commission and Nuclear Safety & Security Commission.

 

  The budget allocated for the special business expense money at Korea Communications Commission (KCC) and Nuclear Safety & Security Commission (NSSC) were 257.2 million and 11 million won respectively. Its sum for two institutions is 268 million won, which equals 0.04% of the total special business expense money, 652.445 billion won. They do not spend a large part of the total budget, but from the perspective of citizens, hundred million won tax is used as the special business expense money.

 

  KCC and NSSC spent 235.84 million of 257 million and 10.8 million of 11 million won respectively. The money left was 21.35 million (8%) and 200 thousand won (1.8%) respectively. Based on the information disclosed, lets have a look on how two institutions are using the special business expense money.


At KCC, the budget is administrated at Planning and Budget Office and the inspection is managed at the General Service Division. The above 이용자 and 중전파 refer to its affiliated organizations Consumer Protection Bureau and Network Protection Bureau respectively.

 

 KCC sets different amount of monthly payment based on the task of employees working on budget, audit, investigation and inspection in the commission and affiliated organizations and they pay the special business expense money every month.

 

 KCC provided the special business expense money to its employees every month classifying the task of special business into budget, audit, investigation and inspection. They provided the money to 226 employees based on their task and position, from 50 thousand, 100 thousand, 140 thousand, 150 thousand, 160 thousand and up to 300 thousand won. In other words, one person received 1.04 million won on average in 2012.

 

 Although the size differed, NSSC showed similarities in the manner of executing the budget.


Tasks related to the budget and audit of NSSC is managed by the Planning & Budget office and General Administration office.

 

  NSSC spent 900 thousand won per month for the special business expense money from January to August. They paid 150 thousand won to six employees in charge of managing budget and supervising audits at the planning & budget office and the general administration office. From September, however, one more employee in charge of managing audits came and consequently they paid 150 thousand won to the employee. They maintained the monthly special business expense money to 900 thousand won by providing only 100 thousand won to three employees.

 

  The use of the special business expense money for two institutions does not appear to be problematic. But we can think differently. By providing certain amount of money every month, the special business expense money of both KCC and NSCC took characteristics of side income.

 

  Furthermore, while providing certain amount of money every month they only provided the money within the limit of 300 thousand won. In other words, all employees who received the special business expense money in two institutions are all avoiding the responsibility to provide evidence of spending the money.

 

  The manner of providing the special business expense money which pays rather small amount of money within 300 thousand won every month seems an easy way to avoid the responsibility to provide evidence.

  

  We cannot know how much public officials spent on executing the tasks indicated as special business such as audit, inspection, investigation and budget. Is it allowed to ignore the right to know of the citizens since frequently proving the use of the special business expense money makes their task cumbersome?

 

  The special business expense money can be seen as some types of rewards for real expenses. However, it was possible to experience through the case of Lee Dong-heub that these rewards can become a private privilege when the information is not disclosed transparently. CFOI will continue to request information disclosure until the special business expense money becomes transparent.


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