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Disappointing verification system of nominees

Posted April. 18, 2022 08:03,   

Updated April. 18, 2022 08:03


Chung Ho-young, the nominee to lead the Ministry of Health and Welfare, held a press conference on Sunday to resolve allegations of wielding his influence when his daughter and son transferred to a medical school and his son was examined for military service. However, the controversy over his allegations is still going on. Kim In-chul, the nominee for education minister, has come under fire for distinguishing students whose parents are the socially elite when he was president of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Six nominees out of 19 cabinet members including Han Duck-soo, the nominee to serve as the first prime minister in the forthcoming administration, and Kim Dae-ki named presidential chief of staff served as nonexecutive directors at large companies and financial businesses, which has caused concerns about conflicts of interests.

As such, it is doubtful that the presidential transition committee has verified qualifications of nominees properly. It came under controversy over the nominee verification system poorly operated as it was reported that Chung submitted an agreement statement of verification a day before nominated. According to Channel A, Chung heard from the presidential transition committee at night just two days before his nomination and submitted a verification agreement document next morning. President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol announced a list of nominees on April 10, which implies that the committee must have had little time to thoroughly verify documents delivered by candidates and have a check of their reputation overnight. From a common-sense standpoint, it is hard to say that only Chung went through such poor verification protocols among the nominees of cabinet members and chiefs of staff.

The presidential transition committee set up a separate group to verify nominees consisting of members from the prosecution, the police and the National Tax Service who have ample experience with personnel verification. As per its arguments, it differentiates from the Moon administration which has constantly been criticized for poorly verifying personnel for the past five years by saying confidently that it can provide a more concrete statement for verification agreement than the incumbent administration. Added to this, the revised version of the Presidential Transition Act allows the presidential transition committee to access the current administration’s personnel records and the personnel management system. It announced that it made use of verification materials prepared by the Park’s and Moon’s administrations when Chung went through the verification process. Even in a better environment to verify nominees’ qualifications, it showed loopholes in the verification system, which only leads us to assume that the committee might have pretended to get nominees checked out to Yoon’s taste.

In response to the ongoing controversy over Chung, an old friend of Yoon for 40 years, Yoon commented, “There needs to be convincing evidence about the candidate’s misconducts,” seemingly proposing guidelines of rejection of nomination. The rejection of candidates for public office is not determined by their criminality just as in the criminal court. Since the National Assembly introduced confirmation hearings on appointees for public office, public expectations have gradually become higher than before. Based on fairness and justice, the presidential transition committee should raise verification standards to meet the heightened public expectations so that candidates for public office can be properly selected under a thorough verification system.“