[EDITORIALS]Stalling on bailout data

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[EDITORIALS]Stalling on bailout data

Will this year's Assembly inspections of public spending end again in an anticlimax? Not only is time running out, but the government does not show very much enthusiasm for cooperating in submitting data.

Among the government agencies that have yet to submit the data requested by the National Assembly's Special Committee on Inspection of Public Funds that began last Tuesday are the Board of Audit and Inspection, the Financial Supervisory Commission, Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Committee on Public Funds. These agencies are refusing to submit the results of their own inspections of about 100 government organizations involved with public funding. They are also holding back information on the breakdown of public funds given to banks and the state of management and effects of those expenditures on those banks.

The Grand National Party has, correctly in our view, called for the filing of formal charges against the heads of those agencies.

We are worried about how the parliamentary inspection of bailout funds will proceed. The government has spent 156 trillion won ($130 billion) to overcome the financial crisis that started in 1997. It has announced that 69 trillion won is unrecoverable, and has proposed additional taxes for the next 25 years to meet the need for more cash.

The public understood the inevitability of bailouts and what they have accomplished but it also wants to know whether the money was well-spent and why some is not recoverable. Expectations are high on the ability of the Assembly to make sense of what has happened since the money was paid out. This is the first inspection of those funds.

Obviously, each party will have a political purpose for the inspections. But the government cannot refuse to submit data for political reasons. It should show a cooperative attitude toward the National Assembly's requests unless specific laws specifically say the data cannot be provided.

The special committee has only about a month left for inspections because of the Chuseok holidays and the public hearing scheduled for Oct. 7. There is no time to engage in fights over providing data that do not belong to the officials in charge at government agencies. The information belongs to the people.
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