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PM’s Office Urges Probe Into Illegal Inspection

Posted July. 06, 2010 11:10,   


The Prime Minister’s Office Monday requested prosecutors to investigate four of the office`s staff members on their alleged inspection of a businessman who criticized the president.

Lee In-kyu, a public ethics officer in the office, is known to have ordered the inspection. His section under law can probe civil servants only.

An investigation team from the Seoul District Prosecutors` Office was assigned to the case.

An official from the Prime Minister’s Office told a news briefing, “An internal investigation of Lee, who is the leader of the Check I Team, and two investigators from Friday through Sunday found violations of fidelity and dignity duties of the State Public Officials` Act.”

“Since there is suspicion of criminal violations raised in the course of the investigation such as abuse of power, coercion and interference in execution of duty, we need to find the truth.”

The internal investigation found that Lee’s section investigated civilians without confirming whether the probes’ targets were public officials when information was given that an employee of a public organization posted a video criticizing the president.

The Prime Minister’s Office said that if a document is directly submitted by the target of an investigation, the subject’s qualification must be confirmed but that it failed to do so.

Cho Won-dong, deputy secretary general of the Prime Minister’s Office, said, “Lee said he found the target of investigation, a Mr. Kim, was a civilian two months after the investigation began.”

On the suspicion that Lee was ordered by the presidential office to conduct the inspection and reported to it, Cho said, “Lee says he remembers he orally reported to the then deputy secretary general and secretary general of the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Then secretary general Cho Joong-pyo, however, denied getting the report to The Dong-A Ilbo.

The then deputy secretary general died in October 2008.

will71@donga.com jefflee@donga.com