Updated May. 12, 2014 03:20
The number of Gwanfia (a term coined by combining Gwan meaning officials in Korean and mafia), high-ranking officials who used to work at the government ministries and are currently hired by government-affiliated organizations or related associations is 384 according to a government survey. This means that the organizations and associations are dominated by ministries through retired officials.
Lee Jang-woo, a Saenuri Party lawmaker, disclosed Sunday a list of retired officials who used to be Grade four or higher in the 17 government ministries including the Ministry of Safety and Public Administration and are currently working at government-affiliated organizations, state-owned companies, related associations and universities, research institutes, etc. ㅁ list of officials higher than Grade four has been unveiled for the first time. If government commissions such as the Financial Services Commission, the Fair Trade Commission, and the Korea Communications Commission are included, the number is likely to increase.
Among the government ministries, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy accounted for the largest portion with 64. Five of the retired vice ministers are currently working as the head of related organizations. It is interpreted that the retirees of the ministry have more opportunities to work for related organizations because the ministry has many tools to directly regulate related organizations and associations.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport came second with 42 each. Most organizations under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, including various promotion associations and cooperative federations, have hired retired officials of the ministry as executives. The same goes for the organizations under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, such as various related associations, corporations, institutes and associations.
A bill to limit public officials re-employment in government-funded institutes and outsourcing organizations has been submitted to the National Assembly, but more fundamental measures are needed. Some argue that re-employment of public officials should be permanently limited based on the characters of their work like in the U. S. In Germany, the re-employment is prohibited for three years after retirement and once this rule is violated, strong penalties such as deprivation of pension are imposed.