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[Editorial] Roh Bribery Probe Must Continue

Posted June. 13, 2009 07:28,   


Prosecutors announced yesterday that they will end their investigation into the bribery scandal involving former Taekwang Industry CEO Park Yeon-cha, to the disappointment of many Koreans. They have sealed their lips on the case, except for citing the amount of bribes at 6.4 million dollars, the reason behind their investigation, and the results. They hurriedly made excuses about rumors that circulated around their probe. In the end, the truth behind former President Roh Moo-hyun will end up in the prosecutors’ storage room for documents.

We have urged prosecutors to release the results of the investigation and evidence in Roh’s bribery case. We have argued that they must disclose information to prevent a repeat of bribery scandals and evaluate its historical consequence, though their decision was inevitable because the subject of investigation died. But they have refused to disclose the information, saying, “In a case like this, we don’t explain the specific investigation results and evidence. If we do so, it could infringe the privacy and reputation of references, and historical truth is preserved as investigation records.”

The decision not to disclose the investigation results could empower opposition parties and left-wing groups that claim the probe was political revenge and a targeted investigation. It is also partially true that the suspicions surrounding Roh was mostly based on Park’s statements. The main opposition Democratic Party dares to say the government, prosecutors and media teamed up to spread rumors of Roh’s criminality. Disclosure of investigation results must have been helpful to determine the validity of the allegations. If fears over the privacy and reputations of references arise, such elements can be removed before the release of the probe results.

Prosecutors must reconsider their decision not to disclose the investigation results on Roh’s family. A national audit and independent investigation proposed by the Democratic Party could be worth considering if focused on finding the truth behind the investigation. The people’s right to know about the former president, the nation’s highest public figure, should not be ignored.