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Ethics of Public Servants

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Ethics of Public Servants

As public servants who serve the Korean people, public officials have a duty to practice good faith, kindness and fairness, confidentiality, integrity, and political impartiality. Government officials are also prohibited from seeking profit, and taking part in collective action.

Officials who violate their duty may face disciplinary actions: a reprimand, pay reduction, suspension, demotion, dismissal, or expulsion, depending on the severity of violation. Monetary sanctions can be imposed in case of irregularities involving money and valuables.

We also have a system that prevents public officials from illegally obtaining property by using their position and that ensures the fairness of the execution of official duty.

First, public officials of grade 4 or higher have to report all individual and family property to the government while high-ranking SCS members must disclose their property to the public. If an official’s property turns out to be inaccurately reported or omitted, he/she can be subject to fines or disciplinary actions.

In addition, if a higher ranking official in the SCS holds job-related shares worth over 30 million won (approximately USD 30,000), he/she must sell these shares or transfer them into a blind trust. If, however, the shares are determined to be unrelated to the official’s job, he/she is allowed to hold the shares.

Moreover, during the first three years after retirement, public officials of grade 4 or higher are prohibited from getting a job at companies or organizations that are related to the division where they have worked for the past five years prior to retirement.

Public Ethics and Transparency Initiative System (PETI System)

The Public Ethics and Transparency Initiative (PETI) System is an ethics portal system to oversee integrity and compliance of government officials in an efficient and systemic manner in a wide array of areas from registration, disclosure and review of property to restrictions on employment of retired public officials and blind stock trusts involving public officials.

The Ministry of Personnel Management is in charge of planning, operation, and management of the PETI System that is being utilized by over 230,000 users from about 1,700 institutions including constitutional institutions, central administrative institutions, local autonomous governments, educational agencies, and financial institutions.

Public officials obliged to register properties can simply enter their financial and real estate data online without the need to visit a government agency in person, by giving their consent to provide personal and family property information.

Moreover, the Ministry provides effective tools to visualize diverse statistical data to improve the system, so that ethics and compliance managers in government agencies can take a 360-degree view on the asset flow and asset-building process of public official candidates in addition to detailed property information already registered on the system. Through the PETI System, the Ministry contributes to building public trust on government officials with increased transparency and integrity.

Public Ethics and Transparency Initiative(PETI) System