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Moon says state audit office is being ‘very rude’

Posted October. 04, 2022 07:51,   

Updated October. 04, 2022 07:51


Former President Moon Jae-in said it is “very rude” for the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) to call him for a written questionnaire about a South Korean fisheries official killed in the Yellow Sea. The liberal Democratic Party (DP) cried foul over the agency’s attempt to question Moon, saying it was “a political plot by the Yoon Suk-yeol administration in an attempt to catch the former president in a trap of political retaliation.” The main opposition party also warned of a full-scale offensive, including filing a complaint with the audit agency, passing a revised bill of the Board of Audit and Inspection Act, and urging citizens to join in a nationwide resistance movement. The conservative People Power Party (PPP) accused Moon of hiding behind the shield of political retaliation. A head-on clash between the ruling and opposition parties seems inevitable during the National Assembly’s first inspection of the government offices, which begins on Tuesday, for the first time since Yoon took office.

On Monday, Rep. Youn Kun-young of the main opposition DP announced in a press conference at the National Assembly that former President Moon said the state audit agency’s notification about an investigation was very rude. DP leader Lee Jae-myung met with the press on the day and criticized the Yoon administration for “abusing power given by the people in suppressing the opposition party and making political revenge on the former administration rather than taking care of people’s livelihoods. The politics should be afraid of the people and history.” Some pointed out that President Yoon might be the man behind the agency’s call to question Moon. “The incumbent NIS director brought in a lawsuit against the two former directors after making a face-to-face report to and getting approval from President Yoon,” said Park Jie-won, the former director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), who is currently under the prosecutor’s investigation about the same incident. “Further interrogations are needed to check if the same happened for the BAI’s inquiry into Moon’s conduct.”

Meanwhile, the PPP urged Moon to accept the investigation as it is “a former president’s duty.” “The Moon administration abetted the murder, giving up on a citizen in danger of being killed and labeling him a defector to North Korea without any evidence to avoid its responsibility,” Kim Gi-hyeon, a former PPP floor leader, wrote on Facebook on Monday. “Moon’s different reactions to the Sewol ferry incident and the death of fisheries official murdered by North Korea makes me think of his two-faced personality.”

The presidential office did not show any official stance, keeping a distance from the issue. “It was the BAI’s own decision, but all inspections require the final approval from the top authority. There is no exception in revealing the truth,” said an official from the office. The BAI stood against the DP’s offensive by releasing its past questionnaires to former presidents Roh Tae-woo, Kim Young-sam, Lee Myung-bak, and Park Geun-hye. “We send an inquiry to former presidents under the name of the BAI chair when it is necessary to uncover the truth in the process of inspections,” commented the BAI.

The agency will end its field probe on Oct. 14 and request an investigation of any person who has committed a serious unlawful act. The BAI will likely call for the investigation of former chief Suh Hoon of the National Security Office and former NSI Director Park, who refused its summons.

Hoon-Sang Park tigermask@donga.com · Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com