Ex-DPW worker jailed for taking bribes
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A former Directorate of Public Works official here was sentenced to a year in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for favoritism in awarding base contracts.
Chu Kwan-kuk, 44, was also fined $64,400 in Seoul District Court on Jan. 20, according to officials. The announcement of Chu’s sentence was delayed because of ongoing investigations, said Prosecutor Kim Tae-kwang of the Seoul Prosecutors Office’s Foreign Affairs Division.
Chu is appealing the sentence.
Authorities announced a massive investigation Feb. 4 implicating 10 South Koreans and four Americans in theft, bribery, collusion and fraud charges involving millions of dollars over four years. The U.S. Army’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit, part of the Criminal Investigation Command and the Seoul Prosecutors Office, conducted the probe.
Kim said his office concluded its investigation, but Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, an 8th Army spokesman, said the Army continues to look into the matter.
The Americans include two soldiers and two civilians, but they have not been charged, Boylan said. The civilians could face federal charges and servicemembers could face those or Uniform Code of Military Justice charges.
Prosecutors alleged Chu, who worked in DPW’s purchasing division, accepted about $64,400 between March 2001 and January 2003 from Song Hyong-soo, 57, of Haesong Company, and Yun Song-yun, 39, of Samwon Company. Chu resigned Tuesday from DPW, officials said.
The two companies were picked as winning contract bidders.
Also charged in South Korea court is Kum Chong-ung, 41, of DPW’s purchasing division. He’s scheduled for trial Feb. 24 on a charge of malfeasance.
Kum was indicted for allegedly taking about $12,500 from Chi Han-il, 47, of Songil Industries and Ahn Pyong-chul, 73, of Samshin Industries between September 2000 and February 2003. It’s alleged the money Kum took significantly improved the chances of the two companies being selected for a base contract. Kum resigned from DPW a year ago, officials said.
Other ongoing court actions include:
• So Hyo-sok, 53, was sentenced Jan. 29 to 10 months in prison and an $8,350 fine for bribery. So, of Taekyong Company, allegedly tried to bribe an 8th Army Command Auditing Team member with $20,000 in December 2002.
Between January 2000 and December 2002, So allegedly gave $43,200 to DPW purchasing agent Chang Un-young to rig the bidding process. So is appealing. Chang has since died, officials said.
• Chi Han-il, 47, of Songil Industries, and Ahn Pyong-chul, 73, of Samshin Industries will be subject to a summary judgment for a bribery charge.
Song Hyong-soo, 57, of Haesong Company and Yun Song-yun, 39, of Samwon Company will be subject to a summary judgment for a forgery charge.
— Jeremy Kirk contributed to this story.