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GNP Unilaterally Pushes Ahead with Special Counsel Bill

Posted July. 08, 2003 21:42,   


At a meeting of the National Assembly`s Legislation and Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning, the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) passed the bill that it had sponsored for a second special counsel to look deeper into the secret transfer to North Korea unilaterally after a few revisions. The GNP plans to pass the controversial bill during the Assembly’s plenary session on Friday.

At the Legislation and Judiciary meeting, only eight GNP lawmakers and Rep. Kim Hak-won of the United Liberal Democrats were present while the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) members were absent as they called for prior consultation over the revised bill.

In the revised bill, the scope of investigation includes allegations that former culture and tourism minister Park Jie-won received 15 billion won from former Hyundai executive Lee Ik-chi, as well as irregularities involving Cheong Wa Dae, the National Intelligence Service, and the Financial Supervisory Commission.

The proposed that the duration of the investigation, which stirred up a bit of political controversy, be 60 days without further extension.

The original bill that the GNP sponsored first required an investigation into allegations of the money transfer to Pyongyang by Hyundai merchant Marine, Hyundai Engineering and Construction, and Hyundai Electronics. However, this part was omitted from the revised bill. The original bill stated that the investigation should last 50 days and that it could be extended by another 30 days without the president’s approval.

"We decided on the revision of the special counsel bill without consultation with GNP chairman Choe Byung-yul," GNP floor leader Hong Sa-duk said. "I will be personally responsible for any protest from within the party."

However, Rep. Ham Seung-hee of the MDP, a member of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, criticized the opposition party for passing the bill unilaterally, ignoring the National Assembly’s procedures.

Hyung-gwon Pu Min-Hyuk Park bookum90@donga.com mhpark@donga.com