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Cheong Wa Dae Screens Public Officials

Posted January. 28, 2006 04:08,   


A candidate for the post of superintendent public prosecutor, known as “the essence of the prosecution,” received a call from Cheong Wa Dae on January 17 asking him to agree to share his personal information.

On the same day, the candidate visited the office of the presidential secretary for official discipline in charge of screening candidates for high-ranking posts and signed a form allowing the presidential office to review records of his and his family members’ financial transactions, travels to and from foreign countries, and military service.

Cheong Wa Dae is reviewing candidate records carefully in preparation for a reshuffling within the public prosecutor’s office. The 15 office candidates have all passed the 12th and 13th bar examinations.

Cheong Wa Dae’s direct involvement in the screening of candidates is unprecedented for the position of the superintendent public prosecutor. Until now, the minister of justice consulted with the public prosecutor general to decide on candidates for the position, who were finally confirmed by Cheong Wa Dae. And Cheong Wa Dae was usually only directly involved in the candidate selection process for the post of public prosecutor general.

In 2004, Cheong Wa Dae screened military general candidates for the first time ever. At that time, however, the personnel committee was composed of senior presidential aides who simply reviewed the data compiled by the Ministry of Defense.

The direct involvement of the office of presidential secretary for official discipline in this process is truly unprecedented.

The new move has met with different reactions from prosecutors. Some view it as a positive trend, saying, “Until now, priority has been placed on allocating positions equally to people with different regional backgrounds. Therefore, integrity, an important consideration for prosecutors, has been on the back burner.” Others are skeptical, saying, “Maybe the administration is attempting to pressure the prosecution in the face of resistance from prosecutors.”

In the meantime, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Man-soo said, “It will take some time to screen candidates for the position of superintendent public prosecutor. The reshuffling of high-ranking prosecutors will be delayed until after the Lunar New Year’s holidays.”