Published : 2013-01-23 20:37
Updated : 2013-01-23 20:37
The government said on Wednesday it will commission a team of experts to verify the state auditor’s claim that President Lee Myung-bak’s four river project is seriously flawed.
The investigation will be overseen by the Prime Minister’s Office, said Yim Jong-yong, minister of the PMO in a news conference.
The main opposition Democratic United Party and civic groups demanded the government transfer the investigation to the next administration, raising doubt over the incumbent administration’s sincerity in digging up truth.
Yang Kun, chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection, also expressed regret.
“I cannot but regard this very seriously,” he said during a parliamentary session. “We will decide whether to accept it after detailed plans are fixed.”
Yim said the verification will focus on the safety of the dams, water quality, the effectiveness of flood prevention and water supply, and its impact on the eco-system.
He repeated the government’s stance that the dams are safe and the water quality has been improving.
The BAI said last week that the project to refurbish the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan rivers contained numerous problems.
The sitting government refuted the claim, saying that the problems are being exaggerated and can be fixed easily.
The 22.2 trillion won ($20.1 billion) project, aimed at enhancing the nation’s water management system as well as preventing the four rivers from flooding, was completed last year despite mounting criticism.
Environmental activists argue that the project could cause irreversible environmental damage and may even threaten the safety of dams and other facilities built along the rivers.
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said on Tuesday that there should be a thorough inspection into the project to quell public distrust.