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Special investigation is only way for Daejang-dong scandal

Special investigation is only way for Daejang-dong scandal

Posted March. 15, 2022 08:00,   

Updated March. 15, 2022 08:00


“All measures should be taken to investigate the truths about corruption. There should be no trick involved,” said President-elect Yoon Seok-youl said on Sunday. It was his response to a comment made by Yun Ho-jung, the floor leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, that a bill on a special investigation of the Daejang-dong scandal can be passed during a provisional session of the National Assembly in March. Yoon did not mention specifically how the investigation of the Daejang-dong scandal will be conducted but a special investigation is inevitable as the prosecution’s investigation has already lost credibility.

Both the ruling and opposition parties agreed on a special investigation before the presidential election. However, political arguments on the details of the investigation, such as the composition of a special investigation team, are dragging time. The Democratic Party argues that a special investigator candidate should be recommended by seven members of the nomination committee, including the vice minister of Justice, the assistant director of the Office of Court Administration, the president of the Korean Bar Association, and two members from the ruling and opposition parties, respectively. Meanwhile, the People Power Party made a proposal to select two out of the four candidates recommended by the Korean Bar Association upon the agreement between the two parties and for the president to select one of them on the ground that the inclusion of the vice minister of Justice makes it imbalanced between the parties. For the past 14 special investigations, special investigator candidates were recommended by various combinations, including the National Assembly, the judiciary, bar associations, etc. There are ways to neutrally select a special investigator if the two parties are willing to do so.

The scope of the investigation is another point of contention between the two parties. The Democratic Party proposed a bill on March 3 to investigate the president-elect covering up the illegal loans issued by a savings bank to the Daejang-dong developers when he was serving as the chief of the Central Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office. The People Power Party proposed a bill to focus a special investigation on suspicions about Lee Jae-myung that he provided favorable treatment to the developers when he was serving as the mayor of Seongnam. Demanding a special investigation to focus on either Lee or Yoon is the same as insisting on no special investigation. Of course, both sides must be investigated.

If the prosecution puts forward its investigation results of Yoon and Lee now, the opposition party will find it hard to accept. If the reorganized prosecution starts reinvestigation after Yoon takes office, the ruling party will not accept it. If a special investigator is appointed after Yoon is inaugurated, there will be criticism that the subject of the investigation appoints a special investigator. Therefore, there is no alternative other than launching a special investigation upon the agreement between the ruling and opposition parties before the new administration takes office to find out truths.