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Critics Say Government Downplays Cooperation Fund Scandal

Critics Say Government Downplays Cooperation Fund Scandal

Posted October. 24, 2005 03:03,   


Former Hyundai Asan vice chairman Kim Yoon-kyu, who was ousted due to his confirmed corruption related to inter-Korea cooperative project, arrived from China last Saturday. Now, people are beginning to wonder what kind of legal process he is facing.

Civic groups and the opposition parties are calling for a thorough investigation into how he formed slush funds and embezzled public funds as revealed by the Hyundai Group’s internal inspection. And, they also argue that the investigation should be conducted with the involvement of the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI)’s special inspection and prosecution unit.

However, the BAI and prosecutors are dragging their feet, and this hesitation is dampening people’s hopes for a comprehensive investigation.

The Inter-Korea Forum, one of the organizations working for inter-Korea cooperation, issued a statement yesterday, saying, “Kim must reveal his corruptive activities and make a sincere apology to public for his actions that shook the entire foundation of inter-Korea projects over the last three months.”

Meanwhile, Grand National Party (GNP) spokeswoman Jun Yeo-ok said, “Since Kim has come back to Korea, we should move fast to dig out the truth regarding his involvement in the abuse of inter-Korea cooperative funds and supplying the funds to North Korea without proper cause,” adding, “Some GNP lawmakers, besides the BAI’s special inspectors, are aggressively calling for a parliamentary hearing of the Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee, and an official investigation of prosecution.”

However, a BAI source said, “It is very necessary to conduct local inspections around Mt. Geumgang to confirm the suspicions of his abuse of inter-cooperative funds. However, this will be almost impossible because the North Korea doesn’t allow any agency, not even the Supply Administration, one of the facility’s builders, to enter that place,” adding, “Besides, if we conduct a special inspection of Hyundai Group, the inter-Korea cooperative project might be deadlocked. Because of this, we have no choice but to watch.”

A source from Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office said, “Since this case is related to the inter-Korea relationship, we can’t start the investigation without a formal accusation of the Hyundai Group.”

Ministry of Unification is also keeping silent now.

The Hyundai Group, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be accusing Kim of wrongdoing, even though it ousted Kim and still remains opposed to Kim’s past actions.

Civic groups, however, are complaining to the government for not investigating the scandal now.

Cho Jung-geun, a secretariat head of the Citizens United for Better Society, said, “It seems that the government wants to downplay this scandal because of the possible negative impact on the inter-Korea relationship,” adding, “However, considering North Korea’s confirmed exertion of influence on private South Korean companies, our government must clearly shows its position on this scandal.”