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Lawmakers, Aides Treated Illegally

Posted October. 27, 2007 03:08,   


A scandal surrounding members of the Science, Technology and Information Committee who conducted an audit of government offices on October 22 has had a negative effect on the political circle.

The prosecution and police are observing the situation and said they will launch an investigation when someone files a lawsuit. This is increasing the uncertainties surrounding the national audit.

According to reports, a number of lawmakers, their aides, and related officials in the National Assembly went to a brothel and karaoke bar where they consumed a lot of alcohol after they dined at a Korean course meal restaurant as well as a barbecue restaurant.

Allegedly, government offices subject to audit allegedly paid for all the expenses.

Chairman Lim In-bae of the committee said at a press conference, “I give my sincere apologies to the people of Korea that I have caused you so much anxiety. After dinner, we went to a shabby bar and drank a little.”

Lawmaker Kim Tae-hwan, who was there too, said, “It was not very thoughtful of us. We went for a drink after dinner, but we did not do anything that we are accused of after that.”

With the issue publicized by this newspaper yesterday, those who are involved changed their stories 24 hours later. An official at one of the government offices concerned had said in an interview with this newspaper on October 25 that it cost some one hundred million won to set up the audit and pay for the meals and entertainment, but yesterday, he said, “It cost us much less than that.”

He said, “Refurbishing an office, renting office fixtures, and paying for meals and drinks cost us around 16 million won. When the word first got out to the media, there was a miscalculation.”

However, many believe that the real expense account should be more than 16 million won because the government offices concerned are rumored to have paid for many rounds of drinks, even for aides.

An owner of a bar in Yooseong-gu, Daejeon had insisted three times that lawmakers and directors of state institutes had drinks at his bar before some lawmakers went for “the second round (go to a hotel and have sex with a prostitute),” however, now he is denying the assertion.

He said to reporters on Friday, “There were customers at four tables on October 22, but no one involved in the audit was there.”

Lim said about drinking with members of government offices subject to the audit, “I was drinking with lawmakers at a bar, but left the place less than 30 minutes after five or six heads of government offices came in to the same bar.” However, a high-ranking official at one of the government offices concerned said, “I heard that lawmakers Lim In-bae, Kim Tae-hwan, and Ryu Geun-chan were inebriated and asked the head of the offices to join them.” When he was asked about receiving illegal treatment, he said, “It is not true and we will launch an investigation into the case. If it turns out to be false, the media will also be held responsible.”

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