Audit and Inspection Board Plans Comprehensive Disaster Audit, Potentially Delayed until Q4
There are doubts surrounding the Audit and Inspection Board’s intention to avoid disclosing audit results prior to next year’s general election in April. The board has planned to begin an audit of the Itaewon disaster at the end of this year, leading to suspicions of an intentional delay. While the board claims it will focus on the general response system for various disasters, it has not shown a clear intention to prioritize the Itaewon disaster. This inconsistency has sparked controversy and raised concerns about the political motivations behind the audit.
The Audit and Inspection Board recently held its Audit Committee meeting, where it finalized the audit plan for the second half of the year. This plan included a “disaster management and safety system audit,” which encompasses issues related to the Itaewon disaster that occurred on October 29 last year. Previously, the board faced criticism for providing false information to the media regarding the inclusion of the Itaewon disaster audit in its annual plan. In response, the board clarified that their intention was to conduct a comprehensive system audit related to the disaster, rather than a specific audit solely focused on the Itaewon incident.
The board has set the fourth quarter of this year as the timeframe for the “disaster management and security system audit.” Despite requests for an earlier audit from members of the audit committee, the examination has been postponed until the end of the year due to alleged manpower constraints. This delay, combined with the historical precedent of audit results being released after the general election, has fueled suspicions that the board is attempting to downsize and minimize the status of the Itaewon disaster audit. There are concerns that the audit’s timing is purposely being stretched to avoid influencing the general election through the release of audit results.
Critics argue that the Audit and Inspection Board, as an independent constitutional body, should uphold its duties impartially and without succumbing to government influence. Director Choi’s previous statement, where he referred to the board as an organization that supports the president in governing the state, has only intensified doubts about the board’s independence.
Throughout its investigation of the Itaewon disaster, the Audit and Inspection Board has displayed a passive approach. Director Choi stated during a National Assembly committee meeting that the disaster was “under investigation” by the National Police Agency and therefore, the board could not commence its own examination immediately.
The investigation into the Itaewon disaster by the Special Investigation Headquarters of the National Police Agency concluded in January. Despite this, the Audit and Inspection Board has not taken proactive steps to begin its audit. This contrasts with past major accidents, such as the Sewol ferry disaster in 2014, where the board promptly initiated an audit that resulted in significant outcomes, including the demand for the dismissal of the head of the Korean Coast Guard.
The Audit and Inspection Board’s handling of the Itaewon disaster is raising concerns about their commitment to thorough investigations and accountability. The public expects an unbiased and independent audit that will shed light on any shortcomings in disaster response and management systems.
Audit and Inspection Board “Comprehensive disaster audit, not one disaster”… Start Q4, may be delayed
Doubt of avoiding the results ahead of the general election in April next year… Increasing possibility of downsizing and period
It was confirmed on the 3rd that the Audit and Inspection Board had made plans to start an audit of the Itaewon disaster at the end of the year. It is suspected that the audit was deliberately delayed in order to avoid the results of the audit coming out before the general elections in April next year. The Audit and Inspection Board has not yet shown its will to focus its audit on the Itaewon disaster, saying that it will look at the general response system related to various disasters. Although the Audit and Inspection Board is carrying out a swift and comprehensive audit which has not been seen before of the previous government, it is consistently passive about matters for which the current government is responsible, causing controversy about ‘audit’ political’.
On the 30th of last month, the Audit and Inspection Board held a meeting of the Audit Committee, the highest decision-making body, and decided on an audit plan for the second half of this year. As a result of the Kyunghyang Shinmun’s comment, the audit plan for the second half of the year included the same ‘disaster management and safety system audit’ that was included in the annual audit plan decided by the audit committee earlier this year. The Audit and Inspection Board decides on the audit plan for the second half of the year by reflecting the revised issues in the annual audit plan.
The ‘disaster management and safety system audit’ identified as a ‘major audit area’ includes issues relating to the Itaewon disaster which occurred on October 29 last year. The Audit and Inspection Board had previously included the Itaewon disaster audit in the annual audit plan under the same name at the Audit Committee in January, but controversy arose over the false briefing by telling the press, “If there is a specific audit plan (Itaewon disaster), it is not like that.” At the time, some members of the audit committee raised an objection to Choi Jae-hae, head of the Audit and Inspection Board, saying, “Why did you lie in the official brief?” The Audit and Inspection Board issued a press release on the same day and said, “We are not planning to audit the Itaewon disaster alone, but we are preparing a comprehensive system audit plan related to the disaster.” The claim was repeated.
Specifically, it was confirmed that the Audit and Inspection Board had set the ‘disaster management and security system audit’ as a plan for the fourth quarter of the second half. Regardless of how early it is, the examination will begin in October, which is one year since the Itaewon disaster, or December at the latest. Since the establishment of the annual audit plan in January this year, members of the audit committee have requested that an audit of the Itaewon disaster be carried out early, but the date of the audit has been postponed until the end of this year. As the Audit and Inspection Board complains of a lack of manpower in carrying out an extensive audit of Moon Jae-in’s government, concerns are being raised that this could even be delayed.
Judging from the precedent, it is very likely that the results of the Itaewon disaster investigation will only come out after the general election on April 10 next year. In the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission and KBS audits, where the ‘contract audit’ debate was raised, all the results came out about ten months after the start. Some are raising suspicions that the Audit and Inspection Board is trying to reduce the size and status of the Itaewon disaster audit as part of an audit of various disaster response systems, delaying the timing of the audit as long as possible to avoid the release of audit results Itaewon disaster before the general election. It is said that the Audit and Inspection Board, an independent constitutional body, performs its duties according to the government’s taste. Director Choi previously caused controversy by appearing before the National Assembly’s Laws and Judiciary Committee in July last year and said, “The Audit and Inspection Board is an organization that supports the president in running the affairs of the state.”
The Audit and Inspection Board has been passive throughout its investigation of the Itaewon disaster. Director Choi attended a plenary meeting of the National Assembly’s Judiciary and Judiciary Committee in November last year and said that the Itaewon disaster was “under investigation” but that “the National Police Agency is conducting its own investigation and inspection.” It was said that the examination could not be started immediately due to the police investigation.
In the case of the Sewol ferry disaster, thank you in 13 days… It seems difficult to avoid criticism of ‘deliberate delay’
The investigation into the Itaewon disaster by the Special Investigation Headquarters of the National Police Agency has already ended in January. The Audit and Inspection Board conducted an investigation into the shooting of a public official in the West Sea last year at the same time as the prosecution’s investigation, and the National Election Commission’s own investigation of the National Election Commission (NEC), which was recently suspected . preferential hiring of children, the police investigation, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission investigation, and the National Assembly parliamentary investigation Even in light of the fact that the investigation was forced in the middle of the process, Choi’s comments are not convincing.
The approach of the Audit and Inspection Board is different to some major accidents of the past. In 2014, during the Park Geun-hye administration, the Audit and Inspection Board started an audit of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries with 50 people on April 29, 13 days after the Sewol Ar ferry disaster on the 10th of the month, the final results of the audit of ‘Response to the Sewol Ferry Fire Accident and Coastal Passenger Vessel Safety Management and Supervision’ were presented. Although it was criticized as an audit of the Blue House, it was meaningful, such as demanding the dismissal of the head of the Korean Coast Guard at the time Kim Seok-gyun.
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