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Discontent Among Army Generals Escalates

Posted November. 24, 2004 22:53,   


The Ministry of National Defense (MND) Prosecutor’s Office, that has investigated the dubious document concerning issue of army generals’ personnel, investigated lieutenant colonel “A” of the personnel affairs division of army headquarters for three days until November 24 after summoning him as a reference on the evening of November22.

Lieutenant colonel “A” is in charge of handling materials regarding personal records, service records and personnel assessments of those who are waiting for promotion, and he is also known to have played a critical role in the assessment process for promoting generals that was held in October 15.

The MND Prosecutor’s Office is pressing the lieutenant colonel to find out whether the case regarding the promotion of unqualified personnel that the document mentioned is true, and whether any related affair was properly reported to the selection committee of general promotions, if there is a case in point.

The office is also planning to extend its investigation to include other army personnel officers who had recommended promotion for generals who were confirmed to be unqualified. Therefore, several concerned generals who were directly involved in the four-level assessment system are highly likely to be summoned sooner or later.

“Generals will be summoned only when problems concerning them clearly come out. Those, though they were summoned only as references, will not be excluded from punishment if the investigation finds them responsible,” said a person associated with the MND Prosecutor’s Office.

Meanwhile, regarding the full-scale investigation into the dubious document, army generals are showing signs of strong discontent.

“It is highly possible that the document from unidentified sources only intended to harm the reputation of the person named in it, but the MND Prosecutor’s Office hastily concluded it as fact and even performed a seizure and search. This is a clear abuse of power and seriously harms the authority of generals by making them all look corrupt and unqualified,” said a major general.

“Cho Young-gil, the former Minister of MND, said that when it comes to a malicious memo with an unidentified source, those who wrote and spread the word would be the first to be punished. But after defense minister’s reshuffle to the incumbent minister Yoon Kwang-ung, it seems to fail to set such standards firmly,” another person from the army criticized.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com