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[Editorial] Are prosecutors and CEMC the MDP's henchmen?

[Editorial] Are prosecutors and CEMC the MDP's henchmen?

Posted August. 27, 2000 20:35,   


The Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) should not think it can gloss over its vice secretary-general Yoon Chul-Sang`s controversial statements, which are indicative of the party caucus` instructions to its chapters to file fraudulent election expense returns by reducing the actual amounts of their spending during the April 13 election, as well as his remarks raising suspicions about the party`s improper intervention in the investigation processes of the prosecutors and the Central Election Management Committee (CEMC). They must realize that the case is so serious that MDP leader Suh Young-Hoon`s expression of regret and Yoon`s resignation can by no means be adequate enough to bring the situation under control. The controversy is directly related to the grave issue of questioning the ruling party`s political morality. A water-tight investigation must be carried out over the suspicions to leave no stone unturned. Rigorous punitive measures must follow the probe. Otherwise, the latter-part of the Kim Dae-Jung administration will have to suffer from a "moral lame duck" leadership of a sort.

When Yoon`s statements created a big controversy, the MDP came forth with the ridiculous and poor excuses that they were a mere slip of the tongue or exaggerated expressions. This has had the adverse effect of fanning our suspicions. Yoon`s remarks were too concrete and specific to regard them as mere exaggeration or a verbal slip. Take for example the comments: "The party, having obtained relevant information from a third source, took appropriate measures that saved some 10 of our lawmakers from indictment." Moreover, "the party had educational sessions, nationwide and regional, to train its chapter office managers and accountants to file their election expense returns to reflect only half of the legal ceiling set for election spending." Who on earth would take such statements as a slip or exaggerations?

If these statements are authenticated, the ruling party`s vice secretary-general can not be free from criminal prosecution for instigating or abetting election fraud. Furthermore, if he enabled those

lawmakers to avoid indictments, Yoon is clearly suspected of infringing upon the prosecutors` exercise of their sole power of prosecution, which should reflect political neutrality. The suspicions do not stop at the party`s deputy secretary-general`s remarks. The party`s floor leader, Chung Kyun-Hwan, also stated that he was in continuous contact with the CEMC and prosecutors to consult with them on the MDP lawmakers` cases by expressing the party`s desired directions for those cases. Needless to say, the CEMC and the prosecutors deny such consultations with the MDP, but this denial alone can hardly dispel the people`s suspicions over the controversy. What the MDP must do now is to thoroughly investigate the case and all grave suspicions in order to disclose the full facts and all details. The probe must be followed by due measures to hold those who engaged in unlawful conduct responsible, and to bring to justice those who must be punished.

The opposition Grand National Party demanded the punishment of those involved and the establishment of special prosecutors. The MDP must meet the opposition demands if this will help dispel the people`s suspicions over the case. The case can not be glossed over by mere political offensives.

We should like to emphasize again that the statements must be fully clarified. Only full and transparent clarification can save the ruling party as well as the prosecutors and the CEMC from their political ruin and quagmire. Any reform efforts of the Kim administration will fail to gain vitality should it try to slight this grave controversy. Any political powers without moral vigor and transparency can not make any commitment to reforms, let alone push them forward.