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Our Justice Minister Is a Liar, Says Prosecutor General

Posted March. 10, 2003 22:16,   


Prosectutor General Kim Kak-young said yesterday, just prior to his resignation, that Justice Minister is a liar. With regard to promotion of senior prosecutors, he dismissed Minister`s argument as a lie deceiving the citizens.

In a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo, which took place late at night on Sunday, Prosecutor General Kim directly criticized that "Minister Kang lied to the public in a televised debate between President and prosecutors." Then, Kim went on to challenge her, accusing Minister Kang of a lying minister.

Prosecutor General Kim disclosed, "I told Minister Kang that she is a liar upon calling her to notify my resignation."

The part at issue is Minister Kang`s statement, during the televised President`s meeting with prosecutors, that the promotional decisions were made in close consultation with Prosecutor General Kim. In the meeting, which took place on Sunday afternoon at the Central Government Complex in Seoul, she refuted, saying such, prosecutors` accusation that the decisions were made behind the closed door.

She was quoted as saying, "I met with Mr. Kim in the evening on March 3rd. We discussed various options for about one and a half hours. Mr. Kim recommended several candidates. But I could not accept them. Some were involved in a torture case, while others in political scandals." Then, she argued, "Thus, I had to listen to various opinions before making the final decisions."

Prosecutor General Kim argues to the contrary. Kim`s version says that Kim, upon Kang`s request, met her and explained strength and weakness of each of the 41 high-ranking prosecutors. Kim argued, "This was the first time I met her since she took office as Justice Minister. How could you discuss a matter of such importance on the first meeting?"

He brushed off Kang`s contention and said, "Minister Kang said in the meeting that I allegedly recommended senior prosecutors having some histories. I just told her who has what problem. But she alleges that I recommended some for promotion. It`s simply a baloney."

Kim continued, "When the March 3rd meeting war over, she promised to call me by 5th to discuss the promotion. But she said on March 5th that she would call the next day. On the 6th, she called me and just told me who would be promoted. Is it what she defines as consultation?"

Then, he contended, "The practice has it that, when Justice Minister and Prosecutor General consult with each other to make promotional decisions, Justice Minister offers a detailed blueprint for Prosecutor General`s comments. Usually, Justice Minster proposes the personnel composition of his/her office first. Then, Prosecutor General suggests how his office will be manned. I just briefed the minister on credentials of each senior prosecutor. It was a one-way communication. How could she now define it as a consultation?"

Yesterday, Minister Kang, however, would not make any comment and was quoted as saying, "I do not want to talk about it any more. The more I talk, the more misunderstand and allegations would arise."

She also said, "Interpretations could be different, I believe. I don`t want to find any fault with it. It`s not a good way of expressing respect for an Prosecutor General about to step down from office."

Jong-Dae Ha orionha@donga.com