By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- The state anti-corruption agency announced on Friday that it will investigate all employment and promotion cases within the National Election Commission (NEC) over the past seven years as part of its investigation into a hiring corruption scandal.
The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission has launched the intensive investigation after allegations surfaced that at least several children of former and current senior officials of the election watchdog landed agency jobs thanks to the influence of their fathers.
"We plan to conduct a comprehensive investigation into all of the NEC's hiring and promotion cases from the past seven years," Deputy Chairman Jeong Seung-yoon told a press briefing, emphasizing that the scope includes retired officials as well.
Jeong further stated that the agency will request a formal prosecution investigation and seek disciplinary action based on the seriousness of any irregularities. The agency will also pursue the cancellation of employment and promotion decisions.
A total of 32 officials will be mobilized for the investigation, which will involve a 38-day on-site inspection. The extension of the investigation period will be considered upon review, Jeong said.
In addition to the ongoing investigation, Jeong said that his agency has started receiving reports regarding other potential irregularities, such as abuse of power and budget mismanagement at the NEC. The deadline for submitting such reports is June 30.
Amid mounting criticism from the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and the public over what they refer to as the "daddy chance," the NEC was scheduled to convene a meeting of commissioners to discuss whether to continue refusing a separate inspection by the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI).
Previously, the NEC had declined the inspection, citing its status as an independent agency, and has since not responded to the BAI's requests for relevant data.
The potential shift in stance comes as the PPP increases pressure by passing a resolution demanding the resignation of all nine NEC commissioners, including Chairperson Rho Tae-ak, to hold them accountable.
"I am considering whether quitting immediately is a solution to everything or whether it would be a responsible attitude to resign from the chairperson position immediately," Rho told reporters before entering the NEC headquarters in Gwacheon, south of Seoul, on Friday.
He also said that he is not reluctant to give up his position.
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