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Audit agency: ex-president partly responsible for four river project

Audit agency: ex-president partly responsible for four river project

Posted October. 16, 2013 07:56,   


Former President Lee Myung-bak is partly responsible for the project to refurbish the country`s four major rivers, a senior state auditor said on Tuesday based on the audit results that the four river restoration project was practically targeted at a grand canal project.

Kim Young-ho, the secretary-general of the Board of Audit and Inspection, said so at a parliamentary audit of his agency at the BAI office in downtown Seoul. He was responding to Rep. Lee Chun-seok of the main opposition Democratic Party who asked him, “Do you agree that former President Lee is all responsible (for changing the four river project to large canals)?” Kim added, “We considered it (taking a legal action against former President Lee) but came to the conclusion that this case is not a candidate for a legal action.” He also said, “We did not conclude that the four river project is equal to a grand canal project but it is partly true that the project was designed and budgeted based on grand canals, the initial plan, and as a result, construction has been made excessively or uniformly.”

Kim stepped back, however, when ruling party lawmakers blamed him for criticizing former President groundlessly. He said, “The responsibility that I mentioned does not mean a legal one. I was trying to explain that it is one of the reasons why the depth and the width of rivers increased from the first plan.”

Both ruling and opposition parties had a heated debate over the BAI’s audit report which said the Lee administration pursued the four river project with a grand canal project in mind even after the latter was suspended on July 10. Rep. Park Young-sun of the Democratic Party who is the chief of the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee, said in her opening remarks, “The Le Monde said on Sunday that the four river project was recorded as the failure of corrupt construction companies and the environment. I hope the BAI can retrospect what it has done so far like a sunflower (to the president).”

After the opening remark, Rep. Lee Joo-young of ruling Saenuri Party said through the progress of proceedings, “The committee chairperson should not say controversial issues conclusively in the opening remarks for fairness.” He asked her for an apology, saying, “It is very inappropriate to say so as if the four river project failed.” Park refused to make an apology, saying, “I don’t think I need to apologize. The public will judge this.”

Rep. Park Jie-won of the opposition Democratic Party in the ensuing parliamentary audit, “The four river project is eventually a grand canal project. It was former President Lee’s scam and a disaster caused by the BAI. Both sides must be punished.” Meanwhile, Rep. Kwon Seong-dong of the ruling Saenuri Party said, “It is doubtful that the BAI pieced documents together with an internal conclusion that the four river project is a grand canal project.”

Opposition party lawmakers criticized the resignation of former BAI Chief Yang Kun and the vacancy of the position. Rep. Seo Young-gyo of the Democratic Party said, “The (Park) administration asked Yang to resign to remove the people of the former administration. Unless the BAI remains independent, it could be misused as a weapon of an administration.”