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SEOUL — The company customers say has offered unsatisfactory telecommunication service — and whose South Korean president is awaiting trial on bribery charges — hand-picked its successor in providing Internet and telephone service to on-base residents, Stars and Stripes learned Tuesday.

Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials confirmed Tuesday morning that Samsung Rental Corp. Ltd. — or SSRT — gave LG Dacom the rights to the contract through a legal process called novation.

The contract was transferred Jan. 31 and still runs through 2019.

“This novation to LG Dacom was an acceptable solution for improving services, offerings and removing any concerns of SSRT performance,” AAFES command liaison chief Lt. Col. Dean Thurmond wrote in response to a Stripes query.

He added that LG Dacom personnel are working with SSRT through April to ensure a smooth transition.

In a statement released last weekend, Thurmond wrote that expected improvements include faster on-base Internet speed, improved pricing policies and voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP service.

On-base customers have long complained about their service and have accused SSRT of price gouging.

SSRT officials have admitted they could improve customer service but say their prices were not too high and their product was satisfactory.

SSRT president Jeong Gi-hwan awaits trial in South Korean court on charges he bribed two U.S. AAFES employees in connection with the $206 million telecommunications contract in 2001.

The men — H. Lee Holloway and Clifton W. Choy — are under investigation by Air Force special agents. Investigation results will be provided to the U.S. Attorney, officials have said.

Choy is a services program manager with AAFES on Okinawa.

Holloway’s 17-year-career with AAFES was ended on Jan. 11, but AAFES officials declined to provide additional details.


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