State auditor to look into official expenses at government agencies
SEOUL, The state audit agency will look into dozens of government organizations' official expenses since January last year, an official said Friday, after an opposition lawmaker raised allegations of inappropriate spending.
The planned audit was requested by the finance ministry after Rep. Shim Jae-chul of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) divulged budget expenditure data showing Cheong Wa Dae spent some official funds at nighttime and on weekends between May 2017 and August 2018.
Shim claimed the money was spent inappropriately, but the presidential office rejected the claim, saying it is inevitable for its officials to handle state affairs beyond business hours, given that the nature of their work requires urgency and security and trade issues call for around-the-clock readiness.
The finance ministry asked the Board of Audit and Inspection to conduct an audit of the official funds spent by 52 government ministries and agencies. The ministry also filed a complaint asking the prosecution to investigate the lawmaker for accessing the budget data without permission.
"As the finance ministry requested it and the National Assembly has interest in this, we're considering conducting an audit after making thorough preparations," said Kim Jong-ho, secretary general of the audit agency, at a meeting with reporters.
"We're going to take a look in detail and if necessary, we can take some expenses back," he said.
But the official added that the agency conducted a sample inspection of official expenses at the presidential office in March, and no problems were found. The upcoming audit could look into the all expenses, the official said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency