Go to contents

`No, I Didn`t...I Messed Up...I`m Sorry`

Posted August. 25, 2010 08:23,   


Cabinet minister-designates undergoing parliamentary confirmation hearings are facing a barrage of attacks over their character and alleged wrongdoings.

Prime Minister-designate Kim Tae-ho confirmed a Dong-A Ilbo report Tuesday by admitting that his wife drove an official vehicle for personal use while serving as governor of South Gyeongsang Province. Kim said he will reimburse the province for fuel costs.

He also admitted to the allegation raised by Rep. Kang Ki-gap of the progressive Democratic Labor Party that Kim used a civil servant as full-time private maid while serving as governor, saying, “I think it was wrong.”

On his failure to properly register his assets, Kim said, “I admit there was a problem in failing to register (my assets) in the first place and that it remained that way for years. All I had to do was to check my bank account but I’m afraid a mistake was made. No matter what the circumstances were, it was my mistake for not being careful enough.”

Park Young-sun of the main opposition Democratic Party said, “When Kim borrowed 70 million won (58,695 U.S. dollars) from the president of a construction company in June 2004, he didn’t register this as part of his assets and never repaid it.”

Kim denied this allegation, however, saying, “I repaid the money including interest. If I’m found to have received any bribe, I`ll immediately resign."

He also denied taking tens of thousands of dollars from Park Yeon-cha, former chairman of the shoemaker Taekwang Industry.

The confirmation hearing for Kim ends Wednesday.

In another confirmation hearing, Culture, Sport and Tourism Minister-designate Shin Jae-min admitted to receiving a luxury sedan from a businessman while conducting political activities for the pro-Lee Myung-bak faction in Lee’s presidential campaign.

On his alleged real estate speculation, Shin said, “I thought it wouldn’t matter at all because I did nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve never breached relevant laws.”

He did admit to registering a false residential address, saying, “It was out of paternal love for my eldest daughter, who was bullied by her classmates after we moved to (the Ilsan district of Goyang, Gyeonggi Province) from the Mokdong district of Seoul.”

On the allegation that his wife was paid for work she did not perform, Shin said, “I don’t think it was false employment. The employment procedures were appropriate but I’m not sure whether she was paid as much she worked. I regret being selfish.”

The Democratic Party said it rejected Education, Science and Technology Minister-designate Lee Ju-ho, Health and Welfare Minister-designate Chin Soo-hee, and National Police Agency Commissioner-designate Cho Hyun-oh and rejected passing the confirmation hearing progress reports for each nominee.

Cabinet minister appointments do not require parliamentary approval but such rejections often worsen relations between the government and the National Assembly.

The party did approve the progress reports for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister-designate Yoo Jeong-bok and Employment and Labor Minister-designate Bahk Jae-wan.

kimkihy@donga.com pen@donga.com