Widespread embezzlement among party officials

Daily NK
Jung Kwon Ho
12/3/2007

The North Korean authorities are intensifying efforts to crack down corruption and embezzlement prevalent among party cadres.

Lim Sang Il (pseudonym, 43), a native of Pyongyang, said, “The state excommunicated and dismissed both the chief secretary of the Party in the Daedonggang district and the head of the foreign currency-making activity organization. They were found to have embezzled money earned from cocoon business for the past ten years.” Mr. Lim, currently staying in Dangdong, China visiting relatives, said, “Words are circulating around that they extorted over 10 million dollars.”

Mr. Lim said, “The factory manager of the Sangwon Cement Complex located near Pyongyang took his life when he heard the news that he was suspected of corruption and the state inspection group against anti-socialist trends was about to come down to see him for inspection.”

‚ÄúThis manager was notorious for corruption. For years, he had extorted money from the factory and used it for his own use,” Mr. Lim said. “It was widely gossiped that this man killed himself because he knew that his would receive capital punishment considering the severity of his corruption.”

A source from Sinuiju in North Pyongan said in a phone conversation with DailyNK on the 28th of November, “The chief secretary of the local Party in Woonjeon, North Pyongan Province, was expulsed from the party and fired from his job after he was found to have extorted money allocated for public construction works.”

“There are constructions going on in Woonjeon, tearing down old houses and building new ones,” the source said, “However, no one has ever asked people’s permission for constructions in the first place and provided temporary housing for people until the completion of construction works, and that, of course, angered many people.”

“All of a sudden, those without money ended up being homeless whereas those with money became able to purchase two to three houses at affordable price,” said the source.

“Expressing their anger aggregated over time, the local people led by the old directly sent a written protest to the central Party and filed a complaint,” the source said. “After all, the inspection group had to come down to Woonjeun and dismissed the chief secretary of the local Party and head prosecutor.”

“The inspection group discovered that these men were hiding a significant amount of money in their houses,” the source said. “It was so much that the inspectors couldn’t count the money and had to weigh stacks of bills in the scales.”

“Conspiring with the construction manager, the chief secretary accumulated money by overpricing construction materials and selling newly constructed houses,” said the source. “The head prosecutor accepted huge bribe on condition that he should turn down pouring complaints and contesting reports from the locals.”

In regard to the recent incident where some machinery from the Suncheon Vinylon Complex was smuggled to China, the state has dismissed many high-ranking officials implicated in the smuggling such as the chief secretary of South Pyongan Province, the chief secretary of the local Party in Suncheon, the city’s public prosecutor, and director of safety agency and foreign-currency making organization of the city.

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