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Roh Will Sign Independent Counsel Act in Law

Posted November. 28, 2007 03:08,   

한국어

President Roh said yesterday that he would not veto the Independent Counsel Act that the legislative body passed to investigate the alleged slush fund scandal involving Samsung Group.

The presidential spokesman confirmed that Roh would sign the bill into law at a December 4 cabinet meeting.

Accordingly, it will take about 20 days thereafter to appoint a special prosecutor. Once appointed, the counsel will assume his/her duties sometime later next month, probably right after the presidential election.

At a press conference held at Cheong Wa Dae, or the Korean “White House,” Roh criticized the bipartisan bill, saying, “The new bill has numerous political and legal problems. Still, the legislature passed it with overwhelming approval. Even if I vetoed it, the National Assembly would surely override it. That’s why I waived my veto right.”

Roh also claimed, “The National Assembly has abused its power in this case. How could the lawmakers send this type of bill to me? The bill also authorizes an independent counsel to look into allegations that I received illegal donations right after winning the election. They formed a bipartisan alliance, and that kind of an alliance comes together only when certain people want to disparage the president.”

He added, “Frankly, the idea of an independent counsel does not serve the public interest; it only serves political interests. How could lawmakers abuse their power like this?”

Roh continued his criticism, saying, “I stressed the need to establish a special investigative body specializing in corruption and malfeasance cases. These are the cases that law enforcement agencies find difficulty prosecuting. All of the parties involved promised to pass the bill. Even though the government introduced the Independent Counsel Act into the Assembly in November 2004, it is still idling there. Maybe, lawmakers themselves do not want to create such a body.”

Originally, Roh implied that he would veto the bill. When asked why he had changed his position, Roh answered, “A president is not just an individual; a president is a politician in nature. When politicians make decisions, they think from different perspectives than those used by prudent individuals or interest groups. The core difference is that a political decision aims at bringing about a result.”

Politicians welcomed Roh’s decision, and expressed their wish for a thorough investigation.



jin0619@donga.com