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Conflict over audit on former BAI head

Posted June. 30, 2023 08:00,   

Updated June. 30, 2023 08:00


The main opposition party and the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) were embroiled in a face-to-face clash regarding the approval process of an audit report on Jeon Hyun-heui, the former head of the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) in a National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday. The Democratic Party of Korea’s legislators claimed that Cho Eun-seok, the main inspection commissioner in charge of the former ACRC chairperson’s case, had been put aside given that there was a blank left unprocessed that should otherwise have been filled in with Cho’s signature if he had read documents on the BAI’s internal approval system. In response, BAI Secretary-General Yoo Byung-ho replied that Cho did peruse the documents but did not click the button, after which they were approved.

Democratic Party representative Kim Eui-kyeom pointed out that a blank allocated to the main inspection commissioner to check if he or she has viewed data is still unchecked, arguing that he did not press the view button because the case involved some controversial issues. “Cho is the only commissioner who hesitated to get it clicked, unlike all the commissioners over the past 74 years,” Yoo said. He emphasized that Cho has viewed the largest amount of documents “since Dangun” but became the only one who did not press the button.

Added to this, the BAI secretary-general criticized Cho for having selectively deleted accusations that could constitute severe illegal acts from the audit report on Jeon. He continued to say that he pressured and forced BAI staffers to add details that had not been discussed at all or fake information running against the facts, describing his attempts as a crime. Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Young-ho fired back, saying that such comments were “arrogant.” It added more heat to the meeting to the point where DP lawmakers and Yoo shouted at each other.

BAI Chairperson Choe Jae-hae’s remarks were in line with Yoo’s argument claiming that no procedural issues were involved regarding the controversial blank on the system. He explained, “The secretariat decided that the main inspection commissioner’s rights to see if the documents are consistent with the original versions was already executed and reflected in the process given that all the involved commissioners had checked them out before. After DP lawmaker Park Beom-kye argued that it was inappropriate that an inspection on Jeon was commissioned while an audit was underway last October, Choe answered that the request was made due to Jeon’s lack of cooperation on documentation while it would be considered to obstruct the audit activities.