North Korea’s Central Public Prosecutor’s Office is reportedly conducting a sweeping inspection of export officials connected to provincial party assemblies, looking for instances of embezzlement.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Thursday that the government informed provincial party assemblies that it would carry out an inspection of their export departments to ensure that their foreign exchange projects were filling the state’s empty coffers.

The source said the Central Public Prosecutor’s Office is currently conducting the inspection.

According to the source, North Korea warned the provincial parties it would conduct a sudden investigation into provincial foreign exchange efforts, exports and finances, and launched the probe from Aug. 22.

The government accuses the local parties of failing to play their proper role in securing financial resources for the state.

Investigators are looking into how the export departments of provincial party branches are carrying out their tasks to earn foreign currency, and whether the foreign currency they earn is making its way into state coffers properly. Those involved are reportedly taking the inspection very seriously.

North Korea’s central government reportedly discovered that the export departments of provincial parties operate several big “bases” to earn foreign currency, but the money was filling the pockets of major provincial cadres such as the party secretary in charge rather than reverting to the state treasury.

The authorities then declared they would launch a thorough investigation into the issue.

Hamhung, a city in North Hamgyong Province. / Image: Clay Gilliland

The Central Public Prosecutor’s Office reportedly plans to investigate provincial officials as well as provincial cadres such as the heads of the provincial branches of the Ministry of Social Security and Ministry of State Security. Accordingly, the cadres are quite worried they will get caught in the inspection as well, the source added.

North Korea is apparently putting on the pressure with sharp criticism mounting that the wives and relatives of cadres go around with wads of illicitly acquired dollars while acting as money changers and lenders behind the scenes.

The source said that since many wives or relatives of provincial cadres have been earning interest by lending money to local banks and the financial departments of government institutions and enterprises in desperate need of cash, some people believe the issue could blow up even more if they are caught up in the inspection.

The source said the Central Public Prosecutor’s Office is saying it will find and “mop up” the ringleaders of private loan shark gangs, under the belief that it is “ridiculous” that state plans are being implemented by borrowing money from people who embezzle state funds.

The source said the wives and relatives of cadres connected to the export departments of provincial parties, along with people connected to the banks, government bodies and enterprises they lent money to, are all quite worried about the sweeping inspection.

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to