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Lessons from decline of a former high-ranking official

Posted August. 07, 2013 03:47,   


Park Young-joon, former Knowledge Economy deputy minister and nicknamed "king deputy minister" of the former Lee Myung-bak administration, is likely be investigated by prosecution for the third time. The nuclear power plant corruption investigation team of Busan Prosecutor`s Office will call in Park to ask him whether he took bribes from nuclear power facility firms. Lee Kyu-chul, chairman of Hankook Jungsoo Industries, recently told prosecutors, "Former vice spokesman of Grand National Party Lee Yoon-young demanded for money saying it has to be sent to Park for lobbying." Lee was arrested as he allegedly was demanded to take order and received 300 million won (268,937 U.S. dollars) for violation of lawyer law. Prosecutors are expanding probe seeing that officials of North Gyeongsang Province, Youngil and Pohang areas, who were the influential officials under the Lee Myung-bak administration, were engaged, either directly or indirectly. The nuclear power corruption scandal is showing signs of expanding into a power-related corruption.

Whether Park took bribes has yet to be confirmed and prosecutors have to make thorough investigation into it. A key influential official under the Lee government, Park already was probed by prosecutors on a corruption scandal related to the approval of a complex mall Pi City in southern Seoul. He also abused his authority in illegal surveillance of civilians. Due to both incidents, he was sentenced to two years in prison and 190 million won (170,327 dollars) in penalty. If he is confirmed to have been engaged in nuclear corruption, he will have three names of crime.

Prosecutors need to find out what corruptive acts he and the North Gyeongsang Province, Youngil and Pohang officials committed related to the nuclear power plant facility. Power-related corruption is different from political retaliation. If influential people close to the president abused their power and intervened in various projects to gain profits, they must be punished to warn potential others.

Power-related corruption scandals investigation is repeating every five years. People close to power including those who joined the presidential transition committee and Presidential Office are put into jail at the end of the administration`s term. This is a crime that has to be eradicated. A former key official at the Lee government said, "Authority was like a firework festival where fire decorated the dark sky," adding, "Once the fire flares up, the end is void." The influential officials of the incumbent administration should reflect on themselves and manage surroundings taking lesson from Park`s case. With spread of democratization and launch of five-year presidential term, the duration of power yielding is shorterning and pain is being prolonged.