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Conducting Hearing Is One thing, Investigating Is Another

Conducting Hearing Is One thing, Investigating Is Another

Posted July. 20, 2007 03:12,   


Regarding the July 19 internal hearing of the Grand National Party for the two top presidential candidates – former Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak and former party chairperson Park Geun-hye – prosecutors commented in unison that “hearings and investigations are separate matters.”

Kim Hong-il, who leads the investigation team at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, drew a line and was firm on his stance that “investigation will be based purely on the documents turned in to the prosecutors. The statements at the hearing remain mere reference materials.”

Also, an executive at the Grand office said, “The questions raised by the panel have their limits and are somewhat superficial given their lack of right to investigate compared to the prosecutors. The hearing will be less helpful for us in investigating; however, it is meaningful in providing an opportunity to look into the frontrunners’ thoughts.”

Another official at the prosecutor’s office said, “Since the screening committee panel had prepared considerably for this hearing, it seems that there are some parts of the investigation in which we could lend a hand. The hearing has helped us to figure out the public’s interest and suspicions over the two candidates.” On this day, the chief executive prosecutors, including Prosecutor General Jeong Sang-myeong, reportedly watched the hearing on television at their offices.

However, special investigation teams at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, responsible for looking into cases regarding accusations of the frontrunners, were discouraged from watching the hearings in order to maintain impartiality. Instead, it was decided that the documents should be distributed on a limited basis after being reviewed by the certain prosecutor.

Although the statements of both candidates cannot be used as evidence in the investigation, the investigation team hopes that the statements will be beneficial to future investigations in that they are based upon credential facts.

A senior prosecutor at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said, “Now the prosecution needs to find the truth about the supportive ideas of the allegations that Lee and Park have flatly denied. Although their statements cannot be used as evidence for investigation, it will be difficult for both camps to address any remarks that go against the statements.”

Another prosecutor said, “While both contenders denied most of their allegations, Lee seemed more sensitive to the questions. This may come from the fact that questions regarding Park were from the past, whereas Lee faced questions dealing with the recent issues.”

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