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Presidential secretary Cho Kuk is to be blamed for poor screening

Presidential secretary Cho Kuk is to be blamed for poor screening

Posted June. 17, 2017 07:20,   

Updated June. 17, 2017 07:30


It has been found that Ahn Kyong-hwan, President Moon Jae-in's nominee for Justice Minister, had registered the marriage with a forged seal of his girlfriend without her consent in 1975. The registration was nullified later. In a press conference on Friday, Ahn apologized for his mistake, saying, "There is no excuse for what I did and it was totally my fault." At the same time, he went on expressing his determination to reform the prosecution and mentioned the unfairness of not giving him credit for his works since then, rejecting any rumors about his withdrawal.

Illegal marriage registration is considered a serious crime under the constitution and this could be sentenced up to five years in a prison on charges involving the forgery of a private document, the forgery and illegal use of a seal and the false entry in authentic document. Though Ahn was in his twenties and the statue of limitations on his case has been expired, Ahn should have not done it as a law student who knows the gravity of it. Nevertheless, Ahn said he is the right choice for a Justice Minister to reform the prosecution but his ethical standards seem to be groundless.

With snowballing controversy over Ahn's illegal marriage registration, the presidential office tried to cool down the heated controversy, saying, "Back in the 1970s, married couples often filed a suit for nullification of their marriage when divorcing with a purpose to erase the record from women's registry." However, the presidential office's explanation does not sync with what Ahn has said. If the presidential office lied to the public in order to protect Ahn, it then should be blamed for humiliation of the associated woman in this case. The presidential office or Ahn is telling a lie to the public.

Ahn said Friday that he had come clean about his illegal marriage registration to the presidential office in 2006 before his appointment as chairperson of Korea's National Human Rights Commission. However, he said he was not asked to explain about it this time when the presidential office contacted him for his nomination. Against this backdrop, it has been claimed that senior presidential secretary for civil affairs Cho Kuk should be accountable as he is in charge of screening qualifications of president's nominees. It has been told that Cho and Ahn have known each other for years as close friends. Ahn was serving as a law professor at Seoul National University when Cho was reviewed for his appointment as a professor. Furthermore, Cho was a member of the human rights commission, while Ahn was leading the commission. Records about Ahn's background history can be checked without much efforts. In this context, Cho has been negligent in his duty or overlooked Ahn's lapses. If the latter is true, Cho has purposely ignored Ahn's faults to put someone on his side in the presidential office with unfair standards. 

President Moon has announced his nominations for 15 ministers among 17 ministries. Among 15 nominees, Kang Kyung-wha, Cho Dae-yop, Kim Sang-kon and Ahn Kyong-hwan have been under fire for allegations on false residence registration, plagiarism of paper, drunk driving and forgery of seal that cannot be skipped over. It leads to growing suspicions over the presidential office for civil affairs' eval‎uation of Kim Yi-su, nominee for president of the Constitutional Court, and head of the Fair Trade Commission Kim Sang-jo. After former President Roh Moo-hyun's appointment of Lee Ki-jin, professor at Seoul National University, as Education Minister and Education and Human Resources Development Minister, Lee resigned only in 57 hours due to burgeoning allegations. Jeong Chan-yong, former senior presidential secretary for human resources, and Park Jung-kyu, former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, resigned for poor screening of nominees. Moon should remember this.