[EDITORIALS]Counsel faces tough goingThe independent counsel investigating the cash-for-summit case, Song Doo-hwan, assumed his official duties Wednesday. It was the fourth time a special prosecutor has been appointed, following investigations into "fur-gate,” suspected intervention by a public prosecutor in a labor dispute and lobbying that involved Lee Yong-ho, head of a start-up firm. This investigation attracts attention because it concerns irregularities under a previous government and the case has not been investigated by public prosecutors.
The focus of the investigation is on the amount of money transferred, the way it was raised, how it was funneled to the North and whether it was the price paid for the June 2000 summit meeting. Also to be investigated are whether irregularities were committed by the business and individuals involved. In the meantime, the National Assembly and the Board of Audit and Inspection have tried to confirm related details, but they have found only evasive techniques and contradicting statements, raising suspicions that lies have been told.
The investigation environment is worse than that of any of the other cases. In the previous cases only the will to investigate was questioned. The first difficulty is that the relationship between the South and the North should be considered. Another is the inquiry should deal with the authorities of the South, the North and Hyundai Group. In the South, the core political leaders of previous administrations, including former President Kim Dae-jung, should be investigated. The possibility of investigating anyone in the North is zero. Main figures of the Hyundai Group are staying overseas.
National interest and the social effect of the investigation are not what the counsel should be concerned with. To talk about national interests even before the inquiry will raise doubts on the will to investigate.
The law stipulates that any member of the counsel who leaks the investigation should be prosecuted, dampening will to prosecute the case. Both the ruling and opposition parties should support the counsel’s investigation apart from their party interest.