A state audit has found that the presidential office and the land ministry under the Moon Jae-in administration expanded the scope of fabricated real estate statistics from Seoul to include the surrounding capital area two months ahead of the 2020 general elections.
According to the Board of Audit and Inspection(BAI) on Tuesday, the presidential office ordered the land ministry to provide a briefing on tentative housing price fluctuation data in Gyeonggi Province and Incheon from late February, 2020.
The state audit agency earlier said that based on the preliminary outcome of its six-month investigation, the Moon administration had unlawfully ordered the Korea Real Estate Board(REB), an affiliate of the land ministry, to report on the tentative data from Seoul beginning in June of 2017.
Providing statistical data to another government institution or agency is a violation of the statistics law.
The BAI said the administration had ordered additional data fabrication after price volatility in Seoul outside the affluent Gangnam area, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon rose as the result of a balloon effect stemming from a set of drastic price-curbing measures implemented just two months prior.
The audit agency concluded that the administration pressured the ministry and the REB to lower the fluctuation rate ahead of the elections to make it seem like housing prices were under control.
Following the enactment of laws pertaining to the “jeonse” lump-sum deposit housing rental system in July of 2020, the administration ordered the ministry to report on related tentative data in Seoul, which led to the REB lowering the fluctuation rate.
Last Friday, the BAI requested that the prosecution investigate 22 officials from the Moon government, including all four former presidential chiefs of staff for policy and former land minister Kim Hyun-mi, over the alleged manipulation of data on income, employment and housing prices.