Go to contents

[Editorial] Concerns over Reinstatement of Audit and Inspection Team

[Editorial] Concerns over Reinstatement of Audit and Inspection Team

Posted February. 13, 2003 22:57,   


One of the properties of power is that it does not restraint itself and just tries to build its strength. Recent developments are reminiscent of this. An audit and inspection team under direct control of Cheong Wa Dae, which had come into being right after Yu-shin reform under the late President Park Jung-hee, and was dismantled after President Kim Dae-jung won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize, is reported to be reinstated. Add the reinstated audit team to the presidential blue house, which has become bigger after reorganization. It is concerned that Cheong Wa Dae could control most administrational affairs.

We consider the reinstated audit team would be different from the past one, which was to protect its own political power. The plan to put the team back might be the last resort amid deep distrust of prosecutors and police. In this context, Moon Jae-in, the president-elect`s secretary for civil administration, seemed to say that the current team would differ from past one. But we cannot but think of the attribute of power.

The audit and inspection team is likely to function like the past one as an agency to take investigations at the request of Cheng Wa Dae. The past one was a source of terror for government workers and politicians. They were more afraid of this agency than the nation`s intelligence agency. For the office of the successive governments abuses power, reveling in illegal taking and imprisonment, rigorous treatments, illegal account tracing, target investigations, and hiding irregularities.

The reinstatement should be reviewed again. The explanation that it is needed to prevent corruption cases involving high-ranking government officials and relatives of the president is not persuasive. Rather the agency under successive governments struggled to hide such cases, which was the main reason why the agency was dismantled. The audit and inspection team under control of Cheong Wa Dae is highly likely to ruin the investigation system because its legal base is weak and its right to investigate is not certain. Also, it could reign over the prosecution and police, abusing the president`s power.

It is natural to entrust crackdown on corruption cases involving the president`s relatives and high-ranking government officials with the prosecution and police. When an office gets too much authority, it is subject to corruption. So is Cheong Wa Dae. The audit and inspection team could hobble its reform efforts.