Go to contents

[Editorial] Prosecution Should Step in the Land Development Scandal

[Editorial] Prosecution Should Step in the Land Development Scandal

Posted July. 25, 2002 22:21,   


Suspicions disclosed in the process of the change of land usage in the Baekgung and Jeongja districts of Bundang and the selection of constructors for the Parkview Apartment project should not be shrugged off.

Rep. Park Jong-hee of the Grand National Party (GNP) said yesterday at the National Assembly, "The land development scandal, which is known as `Baekgung and Jeongja gate`, was allegedly a scam designed to raise political fund of the incumbent government." He also noted a suspicious relationship between the related company and some public officials and politicians. Since Rep. Park has concentrated his energy on investigating this allegation for four years since he was a journalist, we want to give him the benefit of the doubt. His argument should not be brushed over as a mere political offensive.

The investigation launched by the prosecution into the scandal is not enough to reveal the truth as political figures allegedly involved in the scandal strongly denied their implication.

The prosecution revealed that companies that participated in the Parkview project raised an illegal fund worth as much as 11.4 billion won. Of the 11.4 billion won, the prosecution identified the use of only 300 million won, and failed to identify the whereabouts of 11.1 billion won. The prosecution put Kim Byeong-ryang, then Sungnam city mayor, on a wanted list as he was one of those who knew what was going on more than anyone else. But the prosecution did not really put up their efforts to arrest him. Didn`t the prosecution deliberately drag its feet because the so-called political bigwigs were involved such as a former minister or an influential lawmaker?

The suspicions over the land development in the Baekgung and Jeongja districts stems from the change in land usage from commercial to residential. Apartments built in the sites were granted permission for construction although their floor space index did not meet the standard set by the government. Moreover, construction companies granted influential government officials and politicians the right to purchase the luxury apartment units in advance. The reason Gyeonggi province and Sungnam city changed the land usage and permitted the construction has not been identified.

The prosecution has a role to play in getting to the bottom of the case. If the case is beyond the ability of the Suwon branch office taking charge of the scandal, the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office should take the initiative. The public want to know the truth behind the scandal and political parties raised the issue at the National Assembly.

`Lack of evidence` cannot justify the prosecution`s foot-dragging on the scandal.

The more the prosecution shuns investigating the case, the bigger suspicions will grow.