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Culture and Tourism Minister Implicated In Alleged Appointment Request

Culture and Tourism Minister Implicated In Alleged Appointment Request

Posted July. 01, 2004 22:17,   


An allegation that the newly appointed Culture and Tourism Minister, Chung Dong-chae, peddled his influence in the appointment of a professor in mid June, weeks before his appointment, has been raised, and on Thursday Cheong Wa Dae commenced an investigation into the allegation.

Jung Jin-soo, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University, claimed, “On June 17 and 18, Oh Jee-chul, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism, requested an appointment of a wife of Seo Young-seok, president of the internet news media, ‘Surprise.’ After a meeting and a conversation with the wife, I found out that Seo actually requested her wife’s appointment of a professor to Chung Dong-chae, then appointed to be Minister of Culture and Tourism, and I realized that I received the request through vice minister Oh under instructions from Minister Chung.”

Professor Jung clandestinely submitted a petition containing the aforementioned allegations on June 25 to “Internet Sinmoongo,” a newly established website to receive a petition directed to Cheong Wa Dae.

However, minister Chung strongly denied the allegation on Thursday, arguing, “I do not have any close relationship with Seo. Moreover, I have not exchanged any phone calls with vice minister Oh for the past few months. It is unequivocally not only fictional, but a libelous allegation which does not even need to be explained.” minister Chung continued that he will take legal action against professor Jung and the press which carried the allegation.

Additionally, Seo manifested his position through a regular column at ‘Surprise,’ mentioning, “I have not requested the appointment of my wife as a professor to minister Chung, and found out that my wife requested a recommendation to vice minister Oh based on her belief that vice minister Oh could exert influence on professor Jung, who has authority for the appointment.”

Vice minister Oh explained, “I recommended the wife, whom I came to know as she participated in a ministry’s project to promote to develop a culture-centered city since last fall, to professor Jung without any pressure after her request. When the wife requested the recommendation, she did mention that her husband has an acquaintance with minister Chung, and I had talked to professor Jung about her husband’s relationship with the minister. However, minister Chung has nothing to do with the matter.”

On the other hand, President Roh expressed on Thursday that “there will be a thorough investigation to the allegation, and the allegation will be dealt with firmly based on an outcome of the investigation. A high-ranking officer at Chung Wa Dae stated, “It is inevitable to hold vice minister Oh responsible for his apparent request, irrelevant to minister Chung’s involvement.”

Cheong Wa Dae has also decided to launch its own internal investigation into following two matters to hold those who are in charge responsible: The petition submitted by professor Jung on June 25 was an important matter, but it has not been reported by the Presidential Staff on Reporting of Petitions. Furthermore, the Presidential Staff on Audit and Inspection, which received the petition through e-mail on June 28, did not investigate the allegations until July 1.