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[Editorial] Cheong Wa Dae Attempted to Obstruct Justice; Really?

[Editorial] Cheong Wa Dae Attempted to Obstruct Justice; Really?

Posted July. 09, 2002 22:36,   


The rumor has it that Cheong Wa Dae pressured Song Jung-ho, Minister of Justice, to deter further investigation into Kim Hong-up, the president’s son now behind bars. For right now, we are unable to tell which part of it is true and which is not. Cheong Wa Dae official denied, but the details contained in the rumor make it hard to die out.

Minister of Justice has a general authority to appoint and control prosecutors. But only Attorney General has the authority to control particular cases. The Minister’s authorities are exercisable only when allowed by the Constitution and relevant laws. It is illegitimate to order an investigation of a president’s son to be ceased. It is an obstruction of justice.

One official at the Prosecutors’ Office said that, as long as he knew, Cheong Wa Dae asked Minister Song to exercise his authority to stop the investigation. If that is true, it is like Cheong Wa Dae requested for obstruction of justice.

The Special Prosecutor, Cha Jung-il has found out, in its investigation of the “Lee Yong-ho Gate,” that Kim Hong-up did suspicious money transactions and money-laundering by means of account-tracking. And it has already sent to the Prosecutors’ Office the evidence. It would be fair to say that Cheong Wa Dae acted stupidly if it really had tried to cover it up under these circumstances. Minister Song deserves to be praised for his rejection of the request, which would probably be tough for him considering his personal relationship with the President.

I do not want to believe the rumor that Cheong Wa Dae intends to replace, in the upcoming reshuffling, Mr. Song quoting his lack of power to control prosecutors. It is a silly idea for Cheong Wa Dae to think that it can dominate the whole body of prosecutors only by replacing the Minister. Moreover, it is doubtful that an administration, which is suffering from lame duck, could wield the “hope-for” dominance with replacement of a Minister.

Cheong Wa Dae should blame itself first for its failure to monitor president’s family members, which led to arrest of two of president’s sons. The continuing rumors of Cheong Wa Dae’s attempts to obstruct ongoing investigations tell us that it does not feel any remorse and regret.