North Korean authorities recently began a large-scale probe into corruption in the military and have found considerable evidence of misconduct, even among some of the country’s most elite military units, Daily NK has learned.

A special task force under the control of the military’s Supreme Command began the probe in early April, a military source told Daily NK on Apr. 24.

The investigation could lead to large-scale dismissals of military officials found guilty of various forms of misconduct, he added.

WIDESPREAD DECEPTION AND DECEIT

The investigation found that the most common form of corruption was the “failure to participate in military exercises.” For example, there were cases in which soldiers failed to show up for winter military exercises earlier this year after making unclear excuses, including “business trips” and “hospital visits.”

The probe also found that officers tasked with evaluating the combat readiness of military units gave unqualified military units passing marks after receiving bribes of rice, meat or cigarettes. 

In a development that shocked the corruption investigators, some members of the “O Jung Hup-led Seventh Regiment,” an elite military unit, were reportedly found guilty of corruption. 

Members of the military’s logistics arm were also found guilty of corruption. For example, logistics officers reportedly falsified records of fuel oil, various provisions and uniforms that are stored as “wartime supplies” in military bases. These resources were likely siphoned off and sold for money. 

“The corruption found during the investigation was larger than expected and has shocked the leadership,” another source told Daily NK. 

With no one knowing where the probe will head next, members of the military are “really tense,” he added. 

North Korean military document used in political training obtained by Daily NK. / Image: Daily NK

POLITICAL “TRAINING” CONTINUES

Meanwhile, the entire military is in the midst of a political training program. The General Political Bureau, the military’s internal politburo, distributed “political study materials” on Apr. 20 and soldiers throughout the military are studying the materials and using them to conduct discussions. 

One document obtained by Daily NK declares that all activities within the military must be carried out according to “established rules and methods” that are based on “scientific calculations” and that any calculations and results of analysis must be properly “reviewed and evaluated.” 

Interestingly, the document also emphasized that the military must “overcome” wastefulness in “human labor, materials and funds.” It further entreated the military’s political officers to “take the lead” in conducting “scientific calculations” and to put forth “optimal plans” to reduce wastefulness.

*Translated by Violet Kim

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Jeong Tae Joo is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. He focuses on North Korean military matters. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.