(LEAD) Anti-corruption agency finds 353 cases of hiring irregularities at election watchdog

The state anti-corruption agency said Monday that it has uncovered a total of 353 cases of hiring irregularities within the National Election Commission (NEC) over the past seven years.

Announcing its investigation into a hiring corruption scandal, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission said that it has identified 58 individuals who were hired at the election watchdog for experienced positions through illegal means. The number represents 15 percent of the 384 people who secured experienced positions during the cited period.

The commission said it has filed complaints against 28 individuals who are suspected of either repeatedly or habitually committing irregular employment practices. It also intends to seek investigations into the remaining 312 cases.

"We were unable to assess the overall employment status of non-civil servant positions or determine family relationships or other connections between individuals employed in experienced civil servant roles and their employers due to the NEC's lack of cooperation in providing data," the commission said.

The commission further said that a thorough investigation by the prosecution or the police would be necessary to hold those responsible for this illegal hiring accountable.

The NEC has faced criticism over nepotism, with allegations that several children of former and current senior officials at the agency secured agency positions through their fathers' influence.

Amid controversies surrounding what the public has referred to as the "daddy chance," the commission initiated a 52-day on-site inspection of the NEC.

Additionally, the commission has offered recommendations to the NEC for improving its hiring process, including implementing standardized methods for job openings and enhancing the screening process for job interviews.

Following the announcement, the election watchdog said it respects the results of the commission's inspection but disagrees with part of the outcome.

"We will closely monitor the investigation by investigative agencies moving forward," the NEC said in a press release.

Source: Yonhap News Agency