President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered a stern crackdown on corruption involving government subsidies to civil organizations and a full recovery of misused funds, his spokesperson said Monday.
Yoon issued the instruction after an audit of government subsidies given to about 12,000 civil organizations over the past three years found a total of 1,865 cases of irregularities involving about 31.4 billion won ($24 million), presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon said.
The ruling People Power Party heaped criticism on such civic groups.
"They are criminal organizations, not civic groups," the People Power Party's top spokesperson Yoo Sang-bum said in a radio interview, adding that the audit results showed they were "organizations of criminals trying to steal government funds."
Rep. Park Dae-chul, the People Power Party's floor leader, also accused the previous Moon Jae-in administration of squandering government money on civic groups sympathetic to the administration, noting that subsidies to civil organizations rose about 2 trillion won during the Moon administration.
Meanwhile, the People Power Party urged the government to take follow-up measures, such as retrieving the misused funds and launching an investigation into other organizations that were not subject to the audit.
It also called for regulatory improvements to properly monitor the financial flows of such organizations. (Yonhap)