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[Editorial] President is Quiet on Continuing Public Corruption Cases

[Editorial] President is Quiet on Continuing Public Corruption Cases

Posted November. 02, 2007 07:05,   


Two days ago, while attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the city reconstruction at Jinju, Gyeongnam, President Roh Moo-hyun said, "Allowance for corruption, even as a preferred means for achievement over incompetence, would directly contradict the values upheld by this administration.” He went on to say, "Looking back to five years ago, the electoral force that drove the Roh Moo-hyun campaign was sold on its being sloganned on establishing transparent and corruption-free government."

In all fairness, despite his ideological self-revealing, Roh`s silence with regard to the arrests of Byeon Yang-gyun and Jeong Yun-jae renders his own P.R. work groundless. In fact, it may behoove the President to be more apologetic in light of the heavy ramifications of recent corruptions.

Unfittingly for an administration pushing morality as its central policymaking dogma, it stands on too much internal dirt, which now implicates its National Tax Service and Prosecutors’ Office. Against Roh`s complaint about the disregard for the values of his administration, voters who elected him with hopes for political and social cleansing looked to be more slighted by his baseless self-patronizing.

Yesterday, Jeon Gun-pyo, the incumbent head of the National Tax Service, became the first active commissioner be summonsed and investigated by the Prosecutors’ Office. He is being charged with soliciting pay-off with allegations of receiving 60 million won from Jeong Sang-gon, the former chief of the Busan district Tax Service. Preceding the investigation, the current Busan chief, Lee Byeong-dae, told reporters that he had met Jeong at Jeon’s behest to parlay the message ordering "to take matters to the grave and keep relevant sources hidden.” In essence, Jeon had used the Tax Service’s organizational platform to conceal his own misdeeds. When asked about there being customary pay-offs to the NTS commissioner on grounds of work-related expenses or foreign travel, Chief Lee came off hardly in denial in his reply: "Who’s to stop someone with money to do what he desires?" Speculation thus ensues with regard to the persistence of a bribery culture within the organization.

As a prosecutor-turned-lawyer, who served as legal department chief at Samsung Group’s Corporate Restructuring Office, recollected giving 40 senior prosecutors regular payoffs ranging from 5 million to 10 million won. It is odd enough, an ex-deliveryman’s disclosure of his former employer’s involvement in such exploits, but the backwardness of dirty transactions between entrepreneur majors and the Prosecutors’ Office is appalling.

The dictatorship in the past was marred by corruption but still coupled to the fruits of revolution like economic growth. The current administration is credited as being neither aligned to any recognizable political mission nor productive as helmsman of the nation’s economy. Adding insult to injury, the President is ceaselessly contradicting his words to what appear as mere facts in the minds of all.