SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- Seven incumbent government ministers and vice ministers remain noncompliant with an ethics law that requires ranking public officials to sell off their stock holdings or move them into a blind trust, a civic group said Thursday.
Under the Public Service Ethics Act, high-level officials are required to dispose of stock holdings worth 30 million won (US$24,372) or over within a certain time period or move them into a blind trust, with a violation subject to a prison sentence of up to a year or a fine of up to 10 million won.
Those whose stock holdings have nothing to do with their public duties are exempt from the requirements.
Of the 16 sitting ministers and vice ministers who were reported to own stocks worth more than 30 million won, seven have yet to report whether their stocks have been sold or put into a blind trust, the Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice said in a press conference.
The seven are Vice Gender Equality Minister Lee Ki-soon who holds 1.82 billion won of shares; Gender Equality Minister Kim Hyun-sook with 990 million won of shares; Vice Culture Minister Cho Yong-man; Vice Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup; Unification Minister Kwon Young-se; First Vice Industry Minister Jang Young-jin; and Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong.
The civic group said it is unclear whether the seven officials have been formally exempted from the requirements or not, calling on the minister of personnel management to disclose relevant information.