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Prosecutors urge self-reflection in wake of bribery scandal

Prosecutors urge self-reflection in wake of bribery scandal

Posted November. 21, 2012 04:30,   


Prosecutors are urging colleagues to reflect on themselves in the wake of Prosecutor-General Han Sang-dai`s public apology made immediately after Kim Gwang-joon, a senior prosecutor with the Seoul High Public Prosecutors` Office, was arrested Monday on the charge of taking bribes worth 900 million won (83,000 U.S. dollars).

Certain prosecutors also urged the need for internal reform, with one saying, “Using this incident as a turning point, the prosecution should be reborn as an organization trusted by the public.”

Prosecutors and investigators also placed more online posts on in-house bulletins to urge sincere self-reflection. One prosecutor in the Seoul metropolitan region said, “It is shocking that prosecutors who take a large amount of bribes still exist,” adding, “Everyone should realize that unless individual members of the prosecution reflect on themselves and thus win public trust, prosecutors will have no place to stand on.”

Insiders also say prosecutors have lost too much due to the latest corruption scandal. The sources say hearing of a prosecutor who has taken a record amount of bribes is painful, but also called "a fatal mistake" the action of prosecutors to "recklessly" intercept a case that had been handled by police, thus creating the image of “arrogant prosecutors.”

The prosecution is also feeling mounting burden because the focus of the incident has spread from an individual’s simple crime to problems with the prosecution overall. Fears are also growing among prosecutors that the political reform drive will target the prosecution as an organization going forward. Members of the prosecution are also experiencing a mood of strong self-reflection due to failure of its internal oversight system.

Prosecutor Kim is suspected of taking bribes from construction companies while stationed in offices in Busan, Yangsan in South Gyeongsang Province, and Namyangju and Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi Province, as well as from aides and con artist Cho Hee-pal and Eugene Group.

The probe also secured an additional two to three bank accounts suspected as Kim’s under borrowed names, raided and seized accounts with transactions with those accounts. Investigators are checking related records of deposits and withdrawals. To this end, prosecutors also added two members to the special counsel investigating the case.

A source at the special counsel said, “We have raised the number of team members to thoroughly and promptly investigate prosecutor Kim’s corruption scandal,” adding, “Just to demonstrate the prosecution’s commitment to self-reflection, we will investigate the case in the fairest manner to ensure that suspicions can be clarified.”