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[Editorial] “Power of Authority” Investigation was Unsatisfying

[Editorial] “Power of Authority” Investigation was Unsatisfying

Posted March. 08, 2004 22:49,   


After more than six months of investigation, the prosecution discovered that the Grand National Party (GNP) received 82,320 million won of illegal funds, and that the Roh camp received more than one tenth of it, 11,387 million won. It is meaningful in that the investigation into the campaign fund for the presidential election provided a chance to purify political funds by revealing the true state of illegal funds. However, the large gap between the amounts of fund money offered from the five largest conglomerates to both sides left a doubt in the fairness of the investigation.

Though the prosecution discovered three billion won that Samsung group offered to Ahn Hee-jung at the end of the investigation, the amounts of money offered to the Roh camp by three of the five largest conglomerates were less than one tenth of the one offered to GNP. Moreover, the LG group was revealed to have offered 15 billion won to the GNP but nothing to the Roh camp. When we look at these results, it is difficult to say that the prosecution’s investigation was impartial. The prosecution can win the nation’s trust only by showing its will for thorough investigation into Roh camp’s illegal fund.

Particularly, its investigation into the money which is related to the President Roh and Lee Hoi-chang, a former leader of the opposition is unsatisfying. It should reveal how deeply Lee and Roh were involved in illegal fund receipts of the GNP’s Kim Young-ill and Seo Jung-woo, and of the Roh camp’s Ahn Hee-jung and Lee Sang-soo, after a general election. It is unreasonable that only the persons in charge are put into jail and the ones who are to take responsibility get away from punishment.

Prosecutors, who are planning to inflict a minimum of punishment upon company workers because of economic situation, should consider whether it is reasonable to be generous to those who conceal what they did against the law.

President Roh, who said that he was ready to resign if his camp was found to have received more than one tenth of the money collected by the GNP, should clarify his position now. It is irresponsible for the president to propose a vote of confidence or to promise resignation to the public. Therefore, he will have to define his position concerning the “one tenth” remark he made so the nation can understand.

The GNP, which was found to have received much larger illegal fund amounts compared to the Roh camp, should not gloss over the dirty money or try to have an escape by excuses. Regardless of the amount of money collected by the Roh camp, it has to reflect on what it did.

Thirteen lawmakers were indicted and given criminal punishment in regard to their connection to illegal funds for the presidential election, and a number of former lawmakers, executive members of parties and the President’s close aides were involved in it as well. It is also a good function of the prosecution’s investigation to kick out corruptive politicians. Each party should completely exclude lawmakers involved in illegal funds from candidate nomination so as not to let the prosecution’s investigation which will resume after a general election cause trouble in the reorganization of the political world.

The prosecution should not release its hand on the investigation into congratulatory money for the election. If it makes an investigation only into a case which seems favorable to the side with power, and avoids investigating a case which seems not favorable to it, it cannot be an impartial exercise of the prosecution’s authority.