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Politicians Urge Thorough Probe Into Ex-Pres. Roh

Posted May. 01, 2009 07:23,   


Politicians yesterday lamented that former President Roh Moo-hyun was summoned for questioning yesterday but urged a thorough investigation into bribery allegations surrounding him.

Many politicians described Roh’s case as a cause for shame in Korean politics and sought to distance themselves from him. Certain Roh supporters, however, blasted the investigation as political retaliation.

Cho Yoon-sun, spokesman of the ruling Grand National Party, said, “During his presidency, Roh said he was the last person of old politics. I hope he’ll be the last president summoned by prosecutors on shameful charges after leaving office. Koreans feel really nervous over having a former president being summoned by prosecutors.”

Party lawmaker Chung Doo-un looked discouraged and said, “I feel ashamed. I cannot say anything as a Korean politician.”

A ruling party member in Busan said, “Korean politics, regardless of party, has cause for shame today. I feel both sympathy and pity as a politician and contemporary of Roh Moo-hyun.”

The minor conservative Liberty Forward Party said, “Prosecutors should thoroughly investigate the case but finish their probe swiftly without physical restraint.”

Other politicians said the political system should be overhauled. In a supreme council meeting, Liberty Forward Party Chairman Shim Dae-pyung said, “This case is a chance to consider how seriously disappointed Koreans are in politics and how contradictory Korea’s presidential system is. I sincerely hope that a similar case will not recur.”

Gong Sung-jin, a member of the ruling party’s supreme council, added, “We need effective measures to keep the president in check.”

The main opposition Democratic Party said prosecutors should conduct a fair probe but also investigate suspicions surrounding the incumbent administration.

Those close to Roh, however, cried political retaliation. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kim Yoo-jung said, “Prosecutors should investigate those who recently yielded much influence, including Sejoong Namo Tour Chairman Chun Shin-il.”

Park Ju-sun, a member of the party’s supreme council, said, “It is already a shame that a former president was summoned. Prosecutors shouldn’t go too far to bring Roh into custody for investigation. Physical restraint should not be allowed.”

The Democratic Party’s Jeong Jang-seon said, “Prosecutors should investigate the case fairly and thoroughly so that similar cases will never reappear. During Roh’s presidency, suspicions surrounding Huchems Fine Chemical, a subsidiary of Nonghyup, emerged but were not investigated by prosecutors.”

Chun Jung-bae, who served as justice minister under Roh, looked perplexed and said, “I`ve never dreamt of these developments.”

Roh’s former presidential spokesman Lee Nak-yeon said, “I feel really bewildered. I’ve nothing to say.”

In Bongha village where Roh’s residence is located, however, former Health and Welfare Minister Rhyu Si-min told reporters, “It’s just foolish political retaliation. President Lee Myung-bak is a stupid person since he has recreated the vicious cycle of political retaliation.”

Suh Gap-won, former protocol secretary for Roh, said, “I have nothing to say.”

Democratic Party vice spokesman Kim Hyun, who was a key presidential official under Roh, said, “I’m furious. No other member nation of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development but Korea humiliates former presidents.”